the day after that…

i was randomly watching the west wing today and saw a scene i’d never really taken the time to notice before. it occurs right after President Bartlet has been shot by a group called “West Virginia White Pride”. he’s talking to toby ziegler, a deputy who wants to crack down on extremist groups as a result of the shooting.

TOBY
Mr. President, I was thinking… I was thinking it might…

BARTLET
You want to take a leave of absence.

TOBY
I was thinking I might need some time off, yes sir.

BARTLET
That’s no problem, Toby.

TOBY
Okay.

BARTLET
Not a problem at all.

TOBY
Thank you, sir. [turns to leave]

BARTLET
15 minutes. It’s time to get up off the mat, Toby.

Bartlet puts on his glasses and roots around for a file and hands it to Toby.

TOBY
What’s this?

BARTLET
Keyhole satellite photographs. It’s the headquarters for West Virginia White Pride headquarters. It’s a diner outside Blacksburg. Every night for the past 12 weeks, I’ve picked up the phone and called the Attorney General, fully prepared to say two words: “take ’em.” And then I hang up the phone because I know it’ll be better tomorrow and better the day after that. We saw a lynching, Toby. That’s why it feels like this.

TOBY
I’m not sure I’m going to come out of the other side of this.

BARTLET
I’m not sure I can either. But until we are sure, I think we should keep coming into work every day.

it couples with what i’ve posted here before: we get better. it’s a wonderful trait of the human experience that we get better. day after day, we put the struggles of the past behind us. we learn to deal with what has happened, and look forward to what is ahead. we get better.

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