West Wing
A Proportional Response

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A Proportional Response

Charlie's standing in what looks like an anteroom, and an extremely yellow one at that, wondering what Josh has gotten him into. Josh comes up behind him and apologizes for how things have been going, saying it's been a bad day for the President: "I have to tell you, he's ordinarily an extremely kind man, placing a very high premium on civility. Today...it's just been a very difficult few days for him." Charlie seems unmoved and says, "I think I should probably go," probably wondering about now whether Burger King is hiring. Just then, POTUS appears and says, "Excuse me, Charlie? Can I see you inside, please? Come on, it's okay." Charlie walks toward him hesitantly and POTUS sticks out his hand and says, "I'm Jed Bartlet." Charlie introduces himself as Charles Young, to which POTUS replies, "But you prefer Charlie, right? Listen, Leo McGarry filled me in on the situation with your mother. I'm so very sorry. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of calling Tom Connolly, the FBI Director, and we had the computer spit out some quick information. Your mother was killed by a Western .38 revolver firing KTWs, or what are known as cop-killer bullets. Now, we have not had a whole lot of success yet in banning that weapon and those bullets off the streets, but we're planning on taking a big whack at it when Congress comes back from recess. So, what do you say? You want to come help us out?" Charlie finally cracks the first smile since his interview with Josh and says, "Yes, sir, I do." POTUS thanks him and shakes his hand. This guy knows how to get someone on board. He has to turn his attention to his public address now, and Charlie and Josh are hustled out of the way. I was teary the first time I watched this, and even replaying it ten times to recap it, I'm still sniffly. ["I'm sniffly just reading it, and I'm not kidding. Charlie makes my heart hurt." -- Wing Chun] Behind his desk, Jed buttons his jacket as Leo comes up and asks him if he's all set. Jed: "You tell me." Leo: "It's a pretty ugly tie." Jed, all mock indignant: "My granddaughter gave me this tie!" Leo: "My nephew gave me a an ashtray he made at summer camp!" Jed: "Get away from me! Somebody throw this guy out of the building!" Leo, smiling, gets out of the way of the camera as Jed sits down and prepares to speak. We watch as the camera pans around the room to show us the faces of some of those assembled, watching. Charlie remarks to Josh, "I've never felt like this before," and Josh says, "It doesn't go away." The President begins to speak: "My fellow Americans, good evening. A short while ago, I ordered our armed forces to attack and destroy four military targets in northern Syria; this, in response to the unwarranted, unprovoked, and cold-blooded downing three days ago of an unarmed Air Force jet carrying fifty-eight passengers and the flag of the United States..." The camera fades to black before the audio stops, and I, for one -- Canadian-ness notwithstanding -- am just about ready to pledge allegiance.

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West Wing

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