Adieu, President Bartlet

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Actor Martin Sheen (left) and company will leave their West Wing offices Sunday evening as the series concludes its seven-year run. The show has been one of the coping mechanisms I’ve used to nurture my political and organic spirit of late.


President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet and a willing suspension of disbelief have allowed me to maintain a semblance of hope when I have issues with the current administration—not exactly at the top of the hit parade when it comes to the environment or laws that govern the safety of our food supply.

The West Wing reshaped our understanding of the presidency, according to Trevor and Shawn Parry-Giles, associate professors of communication at the University of Maryland and authors of The Prime-Time Presidency: The West Wing and U.S. Nationalism.

“First aired in the aftermath of the Clinton impeachment, and continuing through the 2000 election debacle, the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, The West Wing provided its viewers with another layer of meaning about the presidency—one that is easily the most complex popular-culture depiction of a president and his administration ever offered,” says Trevor Parry-Giles.


“The series offered a rich and often ambivalent depiction of women, people of color, the military and politics in general,” adds Shawn Parry-Giles, who directs the university’s Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership.

Has The West Wing made you yearn for Camelot over the last seven years? What would you say to President Bush about your concerns as an organic consumer? And which issues should Congress address as we lurch toward election season (and members fill their campaign coffers with lobbyists’ money)?

Please post your comments: straightforward, controversial, sarcastic, bemused, irritated or pissed off at this post. Make your voice heard.

NBC Photo: David Rose

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