Comparison Paper

Episode #14, “Take This Sabbath Day,” from season 1 of The West Wing, first aired on February 9, 2000. In that episode, President Jed Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, must decide whether or not to commute a murderer’s death sentence. He has less than 48 hours to make his decision. The episode features an array of powerfully presented arguments – economic, ethical, political, religious, and legal.

Pushed and pulled by those considerations, President Bartlet, a Catholic, eventually calls his wise old friend, a priest, played by Karl Malden, for guidance. The priest tells Bartlet, as president, Bartlet reminds him of a man who lived by a river. The man hears a radio report warning the river was going to flood, possibly trapping the man in his own home. The story is, of course, meant as an analogy to Bartlet’s situation.

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Watch the video and evaluate that comparison (Bartlet as president compared to the man who lived by a river) using the standards of familiarity, simplicity, comprehensiveness, productivity, and testability..

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Take This Sabbath Day, Karl Malden,YouTube, RHajand, 2011

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