The Wire is, without a doubt, one of the best programs in television history. Not only is it incredibly well-crafted drama with compelling characters and unexpected story arcs, but the show transcended the TV medium by directly commenting on the state of affairs in our country—often in frank, tough-to-swallow manners. That we’re still talking about the show today (seven years after it went off the air) as something that’s still relevant to our times is both a testament to the series’ craft, and a sad truth about how little we’ve progressed.
If you’ve ever heard creator David Simon speak you know he’s an incredibly smart human being, and he plays a significant role in Eugene Jarecki’s must-see documentary The House I Live In, which chronicles the history of the “War on Drugs”, its effects, and the troubles with our prison system.
Recently, Simon sat down with President Obama to discuss the ramifications of the War on Drugs and what can be done to fix some of the disturbing problems plaguing the U.S. It’s an honest discussion that doesn’t just fixate on The Wire, but speaks to the larger truths that the series addressed and how the U.S.—which jails more of its population than any other country, and does so for non-violent offenders far more often than violent ones—is in dire need of reform.
This isn’t a simple problem with a simple solution, but it’s refreshing to see a candid conversation from the President (with more than a little help from Simon, of course) at least addressing these kinds of issues that those in power seem to willfully ignore in favor of focusing on winning re-election.
Watch the video below.