Aaron Sorkin penned an emotional letter to his daughter after Donald Trump's victory on Wednesday.
Words never fail Aaron Sorkin. The A Few Good Men, The Social Network and West Wing screenwriter, renowned for his incisive, punchy dialogue and memorable tête-à-têtes, has the ability to express the spectrum of human nature in his writing. Yesterday was no exception.
In a letter to his daughter published by Vanity Fair, Sorkin lamented Donald Trump's election and what he perceives to be its potentially disastrous effects. "I won’t sugarcoat it—this is truly horrible," he wrote to 15-year-old Roxy. "We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world."
Not one to mince his words, Sorkin unleashed a tirade against the president-elect and his supporters, calling Trump a "douche nozzle" and "a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn."
As for how he got elected, "abject dumbness was glamorized as being 'the fresh voice of an outsider' who's going to 'shake things up,'" Sorkin wrote. "Did anyone bother to ask how? Is he going to re-arrange the chairs in the Roosevelt Room?"
But, like his screenwriting, Sorkin's letter isn't without a rousing optimism. "America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans," Sorkin wrote. "And here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always—always—been followed by our finest hours." Sorkin goes on to encourage his daughter to "get involved" and "fight injustice anywhere we see it—whether it’s writing a check or rolling up our sleeves."
"Here’s what we’ll do," he wrote. "We’ll fucking fight. (Roxy, there's a time for this kind of language and it's now.)"
Because Sorkin has spent a good portion of his career parsing the vagaries of American democracy, it's not difficult to find unnerving parallels to the current political climate in his work.
In an episode of The West Wing called "The War at Home," Josh, who is interminably anxious about poll numbers, grows frustrated when he receives the latest batch. "Numbers lie all the time," his pollster Joey Lucas tells him.
In The American President, Democratic president Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) runs for reelection. At one point in the film, he holds a press conference after his opponent, Republication Senator Bob Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss), launches repeated attacks on his reputation. "For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character," Shepherd says. "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she's to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore."
In The West Wing's "20 Hours in L.A.," Leo and Hoynes argue about the power of the leader of the free world. "You think the President of the United States can arrange for a 50-50 tie in the Senate?" Leo says.
"I think the President of the United States can do pretty much whatever he wants," Hoynes replies.
Leo's response? "You're wrong."
Sorkin certainly hopes so.