The Wire: The True Colors of The American Dream

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What are humans worth?

The Wire comes to us, not touting lofty ideologies or an agenda – it comes to us simply as a story in its purest form. It doesn’t tell us what to think, but begs us to think about the world we create and participate in. It’s an elaborate story of a decaying city, with an ever-widening gap between the classes.

If you’ve never seen the show, it centers around the drug trade in Baltimore and adds a new layer to the city with each successive season.  And while a show of this nature easily falls prey to stereotypes of “cop shows,” where good and evil are easy to identify, it is the brilliance of The Wire to defy conventions and blur the previously clear line of who is good and how to deal with evil.

It’s an ambitious show that asks a lot of ambitious questions: What are humans worth? Does the American Dream exist anymore? Is the drug trade really any different from other ‘legitimate’ industries? Can we ignore the poor and oppressed among us, or should we fight for them (or with them)? Interestingly enough, The Wire is asking many of the same questions our spiritual guides and mentors ask about the poor, the disenfranchised, and the best way to live. The fact remains, you simply cannot watch this show passively.

The real beauty of The Wire comes not when we analyze it to death and discuss the tightness of the writing or the impeccable acting, but when we allow the show to read us.  When we realize that the questions that have been left unanswered in Baltimore are the same questions that are unanswered in us: What are humans worth? Do we truly care about the poor? Will capitalism make good on its promises? And how can we see the brokenness of the world around us and do nothing? The Wire presents far more questions than answers, but they are questions that matter.