2008 Obama Loves the Wire; I Now Love Obama
posted by November 30 at 14:53 PMon
This exchange from the Republican YouTube debate gave me some wry pleasure. The requisite love-fest for all things biblical and Christian is a long-standing tactic of conservative political candidates—a way of indicating a wide array of beliefs without having to explicitly state the less popular ones. As the questioner stated “how you answer this question will tell us everything we need to know about you.”
Silly conservatives—symbols for the simple minded.
Of course, the next morning I stumbled upon a detail about Barack Obama that placed me solidly as a supporter. Something about his health care plan? NIH and NSF funding? A stunning foreign policy position? Nope.
TV guide asked the candidates for president for their favorite TV show. Edwards? L&O. Hillary? Grey’s Anatomy. Barack Obama’s? The Wire.
The Wire! Now that’s interesting choice for a presidential candidate. The Wire is objectively the best television series ever created—a detailed, beautifully scripted, acted and filmed deconstruction of every institutional failure in a major US city. Baltimore, my home prior to Seattle, is the setting where the police, drug trade, unions, government, schools and finally the press are carefully dissected. The series is deeply and humorously honest in a rare way; few notes strike me as wrong, viewed through my time training as an EMT-B with the Baltimore City Fire Department. (Medic 11, hon!) You should watch it. Now.
Here’s a taste:
(NSFW, without headphones at least.)
The net effect is somewhat nihilistic. No character is left unblemished. Institutions are at best viewed as noble failures (the Stevedores Union) and more often as a destructive force. Obama’s declaration of love for the series, to me at least, is his deep recognition of the limits of presidential and governmental power as well as the magnitude of the problems we face. Any man prepared to take such a naked look at today’s United States deserves my vote.