The West Wing is one of my absolute favourite TV programs, one I will undoubtedly re-watch too many times. But if you’re going to spend that many hours of your life on the couch, at least with this particular TV show you’ll probably learn some important lessons (not to mention a whole lot about politics, religion and economics – I don’t mean to make it sound boring).

In the interest of saving time (there are 156 episodes) here are a few things I learned:

1. Things are not what they seem, ie. some of my assumptions and beliefs, no matter how well researched and founded, are probably incorrect, at some level.


2. Pick your battles. Some things just aren’t worth fighting about. Some things are. Don’t offend people without good reason. Even if those people are being ridiculous.

(Sorry, you’ll probably have to watch this one on YouTube.)


3. Ignore the vast majority of the stupid things people say on the internet. Don’t respond. It just encourages them to be more vocal. And you will probably increase their audience exponentially.


4. If the world’s problems had simple solutions someone would have fixed them by now. That being said, we should still try to make the world a better place. But I can’t assume that everyone else is a total moron for not doing it my way. Be wary of sentences that begin with “Why don’t they just…?”

(CJ is the press secretary. She is speaking with the National Security Advisor about an arms deal with a nation who systematically breaches the basic human rights of women.)


5. If you need to yell at God, do so. A God worthy of the capital letter can handle it, and would probably rather you were speaking to him than not.

(a little context: His secretary was just killed in a car accident. Josh Lyman was shot, as was the President, in an attempt to kill Charlie – the President’s personal aide, who is black. Meanwhile, the President is trying to decide if he’ll run for a second term in office, though he promised his wife he wouldn’t – because he has a serious illness… which the media just found out about. Hoynes is the Vice President.)