American politics: now fact is stranger than fiction

I’m a bit of a political junkie and I love political dramas in the movies or on television. “The West Wing” was my all-time favourite TV series – I watched all 155 episodes as they were broadcast and every episode again when it was out in a box set.

So, a while back,  I thought that I would give a go to a new political series on American television called “Madam Secretary” which is about a female Secretary of State played by Téa Leoni. It’s not “The West Wing”, but the acting is good and the scenarios are very contemporary.  I enjoyed series one and two and this week I started to view series three which has just begun broadcasting in the UK.

The whole project is focused on a calm and competent woman at the highest reaches of power in the United States. It makes you yearn for what might have happened three months ago. This week’s episode revolves around the issue of climate change and represents a scenario in which a previously sceptical President is persuaded by his Secretary of State to accept the science and act in the best interests of the nation and the world. How unlikely is that?

Well, probably not as unlikely as a week in which the National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is forced to resign after just three weeks in the role following inappropriate contacts with the Russian Embassy and lying about this to the Vice-President. Or in which Trump’s nominee for the post of Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder pulls out even before his nomination hearing. Or in which the President, with no prior consultation or warning, decides to up-end fundamentally US foreign policy on the Arab/Israeli conflict by calling into question the case for a two-state solution.

Gosh, fact is now stranger than fiction and I much prefer the fiction.

Each weekday, I watch the American comedy programme “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah. Trump is dream material for satirists like Noah who have endless wonderful material to make us laugh – but often one just wants to cry. This week “The Daily Show” characterised the present US administration as “Lie Lie Land”. Sad.


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