(Post-ep to "Two Cathedrals")
We've gotten through it. I don't know how, but we've gotten through it.
The press conference didn't crash and burn, even though the President didn't call on Altman first. I could feel my heart twist in knots.
He looked so lost. Standing up there at the podium, under fire from everyone left, right and sideways. And he didn't say a word. Yet he spoke more than a goddamn volume of Shakespeare.
We've always been the good guys. Now it's our turn to feel the grey. And yet, the President standing at the podium sent a message that I don't think a prepared speech possibly could have.
It sounds bizarre, but I felt like Mrs. Landingham was there. Besides in the coffin, I mean. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. After the service, I felt it too. We all filed out, except for Leo and the President. But I stopped, just a bit. Donna and I felt something, but we couldn't stop.
It's a bit strange that we all haven't started chewing one another's heads off. Sam came close earlier today, but I can't blame him. It makes me sad. Sam used to be so romantic. But in the past few months, he's lost so many idols. His father. The President. And before that, I think Josh, in a strange sort of way. Josh was the pillar of strength around here, and when he disintegrated I think a bit of Sam did too. And yet that isn't all bad, callous as it might sound. Sam gets burned because he still believes in dreams. Especially in the past few weeks we've all seen that there aren't too many that survive.
I used to think that maybe Toby was giving Sam a little more respect. Now I'm not so sure. You could say it was the pressure, but I still don't think he should have shouted Sam down. Like he said. Sam works here too. Toby's so used to being the elder statesman that I think he overstates his prerogative. One of these days Sam is going to lay the smackdown and come into his own.
Thanks to Bartlet, that bridge has been burned behind us. Sam will have that chance.
Toby himself? Well, as I said, he overdoes it sometimes. And sometimes he acquits himself in the most compassionate, fiercely loyal way he possible could. The job offer... well, what else can you say about a man who refuses a lifeboat? In the midst of the seven kinds of shit we're going through and will continue to go through, he turned the man down flat. That takes serious cojones more than Toby possesses. Or so I've been led to believe.
Thanks to Bartlet... no, I will *not* get a chance to see Toby's balls.
Josh... God, I'm so proud of him. Eleven months or so ago, we weren't sure he'd be here. Last Christmas he scared us all again. He wasn't crossing the river, he was drowning in it. Even if he survived I wasn't sure he would stay in politics. But he has rebounded, with Donna's help, and now he's better than ever. He's the same political animal he's always been. These weeks have been hell on us all, but at least Donna's been there for him. He's a moron not to see it. She misses him when he's gone. She helps him when he's down. She's his rock when he needs one. And it all goes back to that day on the campaign. And Jesus, we're about to do it all again. Maybe we'll find Sam a woman who's as steady for him as Donna is for Josh.
Thanks to Bartlet, maybe Josh will get a chance to cross the bridge instead of trying to walk on water.
And me? Well... I've learned a lot in the past weeks, that's for damn sure. I've learned to be a bit more careful. I've learned not to take things for granted. And I've learned what I think many women before me have learned: not everything's a gender issue. But some things are. I used to take umbrage at everything. I would think it was because I was a woman. Even when the President But seeing Sam get left out and watching Toby wallow, in hindsight, under the weight of what he'd learned... well, let's say my viewpoint is changing.
Thanks to Bartlet... well, my feet had to get a little wet, but I'm over that snag.
I think that we as a staff will be better for this. I mean, all journeys through fire have to end in water, right? We'll be fine. That river's right there, but this time we are each other's bridges.
How to do it is the question, but Josh summed this all up in the best
way possible. Let Bartlet be Bartlet.