Friday, November 25, 2005

Shout-Out to "West Wing" Season 3

The Pahrump Valley Times makes a reference to Season 3's "100 000 Airplanes":
"President Bartlett despaired over his political predicament and the mere platitudes his aides were telling him he had no choice but to emphasize in his State of the Union address.

He happened to have dinner with doctor friends of his wife, a doctor herself. He was excited to hear them talk about the viable prospect of cancer cures. He assembled his speechwriters and told them to plug in a section whereby he'd call for a Kennedy-to-the-moon goal to cure cancer in a decade. Let's simply take a look at it, he said.

He would remove it, of course. It was entirely too ambitious and costly. Having only recently been caught lying to the people about his own chronic illness, he was in no position to take chances. His speech would remain timid and trite. He simply wanted to fantasize about eloquence and the can-do spirit and nobler, grander ideals - things all presidents surely intend in the beginning, before their Vietnams and Watergates and sex scandals and misbegotten invasions.

That's all fiction, of course. It's from a television show, "West Wing." But it's timely and poignant. I was reminded of it as I learned more about this idea to create a cabinet-level agency called the American Center for Cures.
But as we endeavor to temper our cynicism, we'd best temper our confidence and optimism as well. It's probably not out of the question that "West Wing" had it right - that our political systems have been rendered so dysfunctional for the time being that they won't be able to work effectively even in the interest of saving our two most precious resources, lives and money."

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