Paul F. Tompkins
Paul F. Tompkins is an entertainer. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress Janie Haddad Tompkins.

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REASON 81: I am voting for Barack Obama because I’ve seen The Wire.

Have you heard of The Wire? If you haven’t seen it, you may be familiar with it as the TV show some friend of yours keeps insisting you watch and you have resisted watching because your friend is always too emphatic about your having to watch it and makes it feel like homework. If it makes you feel any better, I agree that your friend is coming on too strong. That said, you really should watch The Wire.

The Wire is an American television series that’s all about how our systems of public schools, justice, and yes, politics (as well as our outlets for media) are all tangled and twisted and filled with red tape, corruption, cynicism, apathy, and waste. It is also the story of decent people trying to do the right thing and working incredibly hard for the tiniest of victories. It’s about good men and women striving to make things move toward better, even just an inch. It’s about a handful of intelligent human beings who are doing the best that they can, with the system they’ve got, for their fellow citizens. It’s about determined folks who, despite knowing it is nigh impossible to effect positive change within said system(s), try anyway.

These fictional characters were inspired by real people.

Yes, it is sickening and dispiriting that corporations have a stranglehold on our government. I have my own cynical thoughts about our two-party system. I have my own frustrations with the spinelessness and greed of so many of our elected officials. And yeah, I wish that President Obama had accomplished countless sweeping changes by now. I have my issues, too.

But he has accomplished much more than he’s given credit for, by either side of the aisle. I daresay the essays preceding this one bear that out. I don’t think I’m in any way being naive by saying I still support the president. I actually think I’m being pretty realistic. Because I believe President Obama is a good, decent person who genuinely cares about the American people. He is doing what he can within an incredibly elaborate system of checks and balances, which would probably work much better for us all were its gears not clogged by corporate interests.

It’s easy to be cynical about our system because cynical people populate our system. But some of the people in it—flawed, imperfect, fallible people—are still good people who are trying to do good things. I think our president is one of those people.

Paul F. Tompkins
 Los Angeles, California


Read the next essay →

REASON 04:
Obama is the first President in a generation to make a car go further on a gallon of gas. read essay →

REASON 28:
Because corporations are not people. People are better. read essay →

REASON 31:
Because the Republican Party is pre-Galilean. read essay →