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I’m a gamer, always have been.

Glee’s Burt Hummel vs. Congressman Ike Skelton

TV isn’t obligated to perform a public service. Entertainment series that don’t try to tackle sticky issues or have deep social impact can still be worthwhile. But wow, when other institutions are so badly dropping the ball on the advancement of American culture, it’s truly wonderful to find a sector of society ready to step up and set a good example. There’s enormous value in a series like Glee beyond its superficial giddy optimism, and I think it’s worth noting, worth appreciating, worth rewarding.

The simple bravery of a TV musical-dramedy stands in stark contrast to the stunning ugliness and gross incompetence of institutions we’re supposed to depend on to Do The Right Things. How tragically sad that a series like Glee does a better job than Congress in efforts to lift the country out of a fearful 19th Century fundamentalist mindset. This week, quivery Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri gives me one more reason to be ashamed of America. Thankfully we can rely on a more heroic TV personality to deliver some inspiration. The bold and brilliant Rachel Maddow doesn’t balk, doesn’t hesitate to shine a light on worms like Skelton in elected office who contribute to the slimy rot eating away at the nation’s soul.

Turns out television is less of a wasteland than the United States Congress. Which is both gratifying and terrifying. These contrasting clips speak for themselves, so I’ll take a cue from Rachel Maddow and not over-editorialize any further. Just wanted to show my respect for the writers, producers and performers of important TV — some of the few remaining people in the public eye who consistently make me proud.