Sarah and I just finished The West Wing Season 2. We both liked it very much, though we were disappointed with the last episode. (Both season 1 and season 2 have been gifts from our good friends Joe and Elena.) One reason why I like this show is that it really illustrates the difficulties of leadership.
For example, many times President Bartlett receives some very difficult news just before he must put on his happy face and visit children gathered around a Christmas tree or a new ambassador from Thailand or some other unrelated but important event. How is he supposed to sing Christmas carols knowing that a U.S. ship is in danger of being overcome by high waves?
I have experienced this scenario on a much smaller scale as a pastor. Someone will come to me before church and tell me that they are dropping out of a crucial ministry role (didn't you get my email?) or that someone in their family has cancer, and then in 30 seconds it's time for me to welcome the congregation for worship.
However, as much as I might identify with the president on a small scale, watching this show has made very clear to me that I never want to be president of the United States or any other country for that matter. I have no desire to work 20 hour days, to endure that much stress, or to experience ethical quandaries so enormously profound. I hope we put our best people there, but I hope it's never me.
Even so, I look forward to Season 3.