RATING: G
NOTES: New series. See Part One.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
far.

I know the people in the West Wing hate me. Josh and the
President at least tell me why they hate me. The others just leave it
to me to figure it out and in the meantime, they keep their distance.
I wonder where they decided that they could be good politicians and
Bartlet can be a good politician, but I'm not allowed to play that
game. I'm the Vice President I'm supposed to sit on my duff and do
nothing but what they tell me to, right?
I don't think so.
One of these days, I'm going to be able to stand on my own
without getting dirty looks from Bartlet's senior staff. I want to do
something important, make a difference for this country. The Ethanol
tax victory was a good step forward. I'm glad that it ended up going
my way. Never in my life did I ever think that I could convince Leo
McGarry to vote my way on anything. I guess it just goes to show some
people are unpredictable.
My life. What a fascinating thought. I mean, here I am, Vice
President of the United States, just twenty five years after getting
a scholarship to Southern Methodist University and surprising people
by making it to the top of my class; I'm not sure how it all worked
out from there. Recently I wanted to be President, and I didn't make
it. Instead, here I am, second in command... technically.
I wonder how my wife is. I haven't had a chance to talk to her in
ages. I hope we're not drifting apart. I try to be a good person and
at the same time, I try to be a good leader how is it that I can or
can't be both? Why is it that I feel like I have to choose between
being a good father and husband, and being a good leader and
politician? I have to do my job, and I have to do it right. It's my
son's future that rests in my hands.
I'm not sure he cares, but that's just him being a teenager. His
sister went through the same thing.
So here I am, sitting in my office, trying to stay sane and do my
job. I know it sounds strange, but it's a struggle for me to stay
sane in this job. I have to deal with Bartlet and staff watching me
disapprovingly. I have to deal with people who see me as a wimp
because I lost the primary to the guy that I now work for, or those
who think that I'm a failure for that same reason. I wish that these
people would get a clue, all of them. I'm here to do a job and serve
my country. I'm not here to deal with their feelings and prejudices
towards me.
The sooner they get that, the sooner we can get some stuff done.
Isn't that what we're here for anyway? Isn't that what we're about?
I think I need a vacation. On the night of the shooting, those
doors burst open and no one had to tell me what had happened; I just
knew. That had to be the most fearful moment I have ever lived
through. When they grabbed me and pulled me out of the room, I became
so frantically worried: Where's my family? Where's Bartlet? What are
the casualties? Don't let anybody die, god, please... Josh...
It's remarkable how I felt when I'd heard that he'd been shot. At
one point, I found a way to blame myself; if I had listened to him so
many years ago, I would be the President now, and Charlie Young would
probably never have come into the picture and those bullets would
never have been fired. Even if Charlie did get a job at the White
House, Zoey Bartlet would not have been around, and they never would
have met and there would have been no controversy. No people firing
guns out the window.
Then I realize that it's foolish and selfish reasoning. The only
blame there is to give is for the shooters, and they're dead.
It's not Charlie's fault; It's not Zoey's fault; it's not
Bartlet's fault; it's not Josh's fault; it's not the secret service's
fault and it's not my fault.
I think there's a cabinet meeting tomorrow. I don't think I'm
looking forward to it. Bartlet seems to enjoy making me look like an
idiot or an insensitive jerk. I think it's particularly interesting
that he doesn't think I should get mad about it. Ever since we were
elected, elected as a pair, I've done my best to be a good VP,
without sacrificing too much of my dignity or beliefs, but still
it's "you shouldn't have made me beg, John." Bartlet is a smart man,
a good man, but you know what? So am I. I don't appreciate him or his
staff trying to make it seem otherwise. When election year gets
rolling, which it's beginning to do right now, they're either going
to have to dump me (which will not make them look good at all) and
deal with me as an opponent, or they're gonna have to run with my
name on their ticket.
Either they'll need me on their team or they'll need me as an
ally. They should realize that.
When I was in my senior of college, I had a professor ask me what
I was going to do with my life. I told him I was going to be a
lawyer. He said "And?" That's a moment that has stuck in my mind ever
since. That teacher was my poli-sci teacher, and he proceeded to tell
me about missed opportunities and "undiscovered talent", most likely
referring to himself, I believe. In any case, he told me that I had a
charm about me that would make me an excellent politician and he
wanted me to give it a shot. He put me in his debate class though I
still don't know how he pulled that off, and I got a taste of a
politician's life. Needless to say, I vastly enjoyed it. It was the
life that became mine.
I still went to law school and I met my future wife there. I
don't know that I wanted then to be President someday. I knew that I
wanted to make a difference. I moved up the ranks professionally and
I made a life for myself and my wife, and then even for my kids as
well. I know the nature of politics is that everyone thinks
differently about what's best for the country, but still, that's what
my ambition was and always will be: do what's best for this country
and make it better than it already is. That's what I try to do
every day.
Instead I'm just supposed to be deliver the South? Pardon me for
not wanting to sit on my duff and do nothing. I won't do that.
My son has a baseball game this weekend. I want to go see it. I
hope it would mean something to him for me to be there, because it
would mean something to me to see him play. I'll have to get my
secretary to clear my time for it. I need to spend more time with my
family. At least they don't stare at me like I'm an enemy or a wimp
or a failure. Family counts for something; it always has. My parents
were always there for me, and my brothers and I have always been
close. Even when Tom got into his accident, the family stuck through
it together. We've always managed to get out the other end of the
tunnel.
It's hard to get over the death of someone you love in a
situation like that, especially if you don't have the family to get
you through. But I did have my family, and we got through it.
Change of subject time. I wonder what else I've got to do today.
It's almost lunchtime, so I've just got to get through a few more
hours. I can only hope I don't have a lunch meeting today. I told my
secretary only three lunch meetings allowed per week, but I'd really
prefer none at all. There's only one thing I dislike more than not
looking at someone when they're talking to me, and that's having to
look at someone while they're talking to me and chewing their food at
the same time. Most political arguments lose their validity when the
presenter has a piece of corn shoved on to the top of the right front
tooth.
Lunchtime has come and I am off. I really don't care where it is
that I'm off to as long as it's not here. I need to get away from
this place from time to time. I need to search for a world where I
can be accepted for what I am and not as the guy who lost to Bartlet
and then grudgingly agreed to be the man's vice president, not the
guy who made Bartlet beg and weakened him right out of the gate, but
for the husband, for the father, the politician, the kid from Texas
who decided to make a difference. That's who I am.

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