Effect of Popular Culture: The West Wing

At this moment, there is a filibuster happening in the U.S. Senate. Click here to watch it while you do whatever. Thank you @Lin_Manuel for sharing the link! This filibuster is in response to the senseless violence that happened this Sunday morning in Orlando.

I’m writing this post for two reasons: to make people aware that this is happening and to watch it; to share how popular culture has impacted me in regards to this particular action in Congress.

I’ve done the first, now for the second.


My parents watched The West Wing. I watched The West Wing. I have watched the entire series multiple times. I have learned so much about government from this television series. When given the opportunity to give a presentation about a celebrity and their influence on politics and the government in my HS government class, I told my group we were going to focus on Martin Sheen.

But that’s beside the point. There was an episode, “The Stackhouse Filibuster”. When the current filibuster is over, go watch it. It does not simply show a filibuster as part of the plot, it explains the rules of a filibuster and how the person leading the filibuster can be aided by colleagues to keep it going.

Honestly, that is why I am watching and enjoying it right now. I’m seeing these things actually happen in our Senate. Right now. Colleagues are asking long, multi-part questions to allow the Senator a break to gather his thoughts. It is a beautiful piece of American government to watch. All thanks to a television show.

I just hope something good comes from this. Not simply knowledge, but legislation that will prevent or make it much harder for this to ever happen again. I can’t find it right now, but a friend posted something on Facebook that shows that stricter laws make things like this harder to happen. People point out that taking away the guns won’t stop this. No it won’t. But it will make it much harder. After Timothy McVeigh’s action, it became much harder to buy that much fertilizer and to park as close as he did to a government building. After 9/11 hijackers used box cutters to hijack airplanes, stricter restrictions on what passengers can bring onto planes, and airplanes and their crew changed to make it harder for hijackers to take over.

With that, I’m going to leave you with something that has gone viral, for good reason:

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