Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks to a colleague for this reminder about what we're really doing this week...

Link here.

First official document proclaiming "THANKSGIVING" as we know it today came after the event below:

The year was 1637.....700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their "Annual Green Corn Dance" in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn. While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercenaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building. The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared : "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children. For the next 100 years, every "Thanksgiving Day" ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.

Source: Documents of Holland , 13 Volume Colonial Documentary History, letters and reports form colonial officials to their superiors and the King in England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years. Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe) Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department

Mistakes, Lies & Misconceptions about American Indian people The Thanksgiving Myth

Let me begin by stating that thousands of years before the 'official' Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by Governor Winthrop of the Massachussetts Bay Colony in 1637, North American Indigenous people across the continent had celebrated seasons of Thanksgiving. 'Thanksgiving' is a very ancient concept to American Indian nations. The big problem with the American Thanksgiving holiday is its false association with American Indian people. The infamous 'Indians and pilgrims' myth. It is good to celebrate Thanksgiving, to be thankful for your blessings. It is not good to distort history, to falsely portray the origin of this holiday and lie about the truth of its actual inception. Here are some accurate historical facts about the true origin of this American holiday that may interest you:

'Thanksgiving' did not begin as a great loving relationship between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people. In fact, in October of 1621 when the 'pilgrim' survivors of their first winter in Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial 'Thanksgiving' meal, the Indians who were there were not even invited! There was no turkey, squash, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. A few days before this alleged feast took place, a company of 'pilgrims' led by Miles Standish actively sought the head of a local Indian leader, and an 11 foot high wall was erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of keeping Indians out! Officially, the holiday we know as 'Thanksgiving' actually came into existence in the year 1637. Governor Winthrop of the Massachussetts Bay Colony proclaimed this first official day of Thanksgiving and feasting to celebrate the return of the colony's men who had arrived safely from what is now Mystic, Connecticut. They had gone there to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women and children, and Mr. Winthrop decided to dedicate an official day of thanksgiving complete with a feast to 'give thanks' for their great 'victory'....

As hard as it may be to conceive, this is the actual origin of our current Thanksgiving Day holiday. Many American Indian people these days do not observe this holiday, for obvious reasons. I see nothing wrong with gathering with family to give thanks to our Creator for our blessings and sharing a meal. I do, however, hope that Americans as a whole will one day acknowledge the true origin of this holiday, and remember the pain, loss, and agony of the Indigenous people who suffered at the hands of the so-called 'pilgrims'. It is my hope that children's plays about 'the first Thanksgiving', complete with Indians and pilgrims chumming at the dinner table, will someday be a thing of the past. Why perpetuate a lie? Let us face the truths of the past, and give thanks that we are learning to love one another for the rich human diversity we share.

Written by John Two-Hawks

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ren Ev, a beautiful woman.

I have now had the privilege and the pleasure of meeting Renegade Evolution in person, and I hope she won't mind, but I'd like to take a minute to respond to the negative comments and incorrect assumptions about what she looks like that tend to fly around the internet every so often. There are some folks who call themselves radical feminists who want to discredit her and do so by calling her out on her looks (and I provided just one link, but really, this is something that happens fairly regularly and that I've witnessed over the last couple of years that I've been reading her blog). I think that they think that she is some sort of Barbie-doll lookalike, or maybe just that she is someone who looks different than they do, and the fact that she is a sex worker makes it somehow ok to focus their hatred on her body.

In fact, one of the things that continually surprises me (because I, too, fall prey to stereotypes about sex workers) when I meet sex workers is that they look just like everybody else. I think Ren is lovely - you've seen her pictures on her blog, but in person, there is a sparkliness (Ren, has anyone ever described you that way before?) that doesn't come through in the photos. But I also think that Ren looks like a regular person - she could be an ad executive, a college professor (or student), an artist, a health care professional. She may make money off of her looks, but let's not forget that, just as is true for models and actors, there is a lot of work that is done before showing up for the shoot. I say this only to point out that, guess what? Many of those who like to dis Ren's body might well look just like her. Many of those who like to assume that Ren has privilege because of her body might well find they have the same body privilege if they did what she does to prepare.

And also - I find it incredibly distasteful and unfeminist (and I don't really throw around charges of "unfeminist" too often) to talk about other women's bodies in negative ways. More than being unfeminist, it's just uncool. And that's true no matter what they look like, and no matter what they do with their bodies.

...More to follow on Ren's appearance here in the Twin Cities...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winona LaDuke's house burned down: here is how to help.

I am posting the following message, from a friend/colleague of Winona LaDuke, with permission. Please help to get the word out and do what you can to help. Winona LaDuke's life and work have, for many of us in Women's Studies, Native Studies, and Environmental Studies, been foundational. Her work with Indigenous communities and on renewable energies and food systems has been revolutionary. She is one of many women of color whose work has been absolutely central to feminist scholarship, yet she does her work from outside the academic system. Feminists and radicals within and without the academy, let's help her out!

This past weekend, Winona's house had an electrical fire and the house burnt to the ground. No one was hurt. While the house and its contents are gone, the blessing is that all five kids and three grandchildren are safe.

I'm writing to you because I know Winona won't ask for help, and I also know she really needs our support. Winona bought her house about 20 years ago and it was filled with art, books, music, photos and other collectibles that reflected her story and the story of her family. What will be most missed are these memories, and we can recreate some of them.

Photos: One positive thing about being a public figure is that lots of folks have photos of you and your children. We have a good collection at Honor the Earth but I'm asking if you could go through your pictures and send photos you have of the family, especially the kids. Wasey and Ajuwak were born before the digital age so a lot of the photos of them growing up are gone.
Photos would mean a lot.

Movement T-shirts and Art: The kids all had an amazing collection of movement t-shirts that comprised the bulk of their wardrobe. Winona basically shopped for her kids at the events she attended around the world. If you have any political message shirts or shirts from historic activist
events in sizes Small, Large or X-Large, I know the kids would cherish them. Zapatista shirts are a favorite. Also gone is Winona's amazing collection of posters and art from decades past. I know she would appreciate any no-nukes, safe energy, anti-colonial, no-gmo and Native activist art.

Books: Winona had a library that fed her mind and soul, and that she often turned to for research material. If you can send books, fiction and non-fiction, she can begin her collection again.

Lastly, Winona has a newborn grandson, Little Crow, who along with her two toddler grandchildren lost all of their clothes and blankets. Winter is coming and the family could really use any warm baby clothes along with clothes and outerwear for a two year old girl and a large two year old boy (Giwaadan is a size 4 toddler!).

These are the things -- photos, t-shirts and art, books and baby/toddler clothing that I think would be most helpful right now, and would touch the family most.

Winona and the kids are renting an apartment in Detroit Lakes and will be staying there over the winter while envisioning building a new home. Right now, the best shipping address is White Earth Land Recovery/Honor the Earth office up in Calloway:

Winona LaDuke
White Earth Land Recovery Project
607 Main Avenue
Callaway, MN 56521

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prayers/Positive Energy for Winona LaDuke and Family.

Winona LaDuke's home burned down the day before yesterday. No one was hurt, but it sounds like she lost everything. That is all the information I have. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Let's hope this doesn't jinx it: "What chemo feels like."

A lot of people have been assuming that I've been going through a hellish experience with chemotherapy, which is certainly what I initially expected. So (and I am knocking on wood as I write) I thought it might be informative to share what my experience has been like so far. As my medical team has told me, everyone reacts differently, so you can't know going in what the experience will be like for you, so my experience will not be the same as everyone else's. Also, there are lots of different chemotherapy drugs, and they have different effects, so while many of us assume that chemotherapy = "lots of nausea and vomiting," that is only even a risk for certain chemo drugs. Further, the anti-nausea drugs have come a LONG way in just the last five years, so the image many of us have of chemo is not an accurate one any longer. They give me three different anti-nausea drugs, total, and they all work to block different receptors (just for example).

Anyway. Here is what my two treatments have been like:

The actual chemotherapy is done on an outpatient basis, in a cheerful room with comfy reclining chairs and tvs and wi-fi. There are also pillows and heated blankets, and a big bin of knitted/crocheted hats (I brought home a cute purple one this last time). Some people have a port put in, which is a surgically implanted device (usually in the chest, I think) that they can plug the IV directly into, which means that you don't have to have a needle stick each time. I do not (yet) have a port - I get my needle stick in the back of my hand, and the needle retracts, leaving a plastic tube that allows the IV to go into the vein. I don't find it uncomfortable, but I do find it more comfortable to keep my hand fairly still.

First they give me saline, then two anti-nausea drugs, all through IV drip. They they give me one of the chemo drugs through two big syringes, and the second through a drip. They finish me off with another saline drip. I really don't feel any of it going in, except for the drug they give me via syringe, which feels slightly cool because it is room temperature (it's also red, so the first time I pee after chemo, my pee is red). The whole thing takes about two hours (though when they switch me to the third drug in a month or so, I have heard through a friend that it could take up to 6 hours - she was getting two drugs then, and I'll be getting one, so it may not take so long, but I will have to wait and see. However, as I've said, it is a pleasant room to be in, and I have plenty of reading/email/writing/t.v. watching to keep me occupied.).

The only thing I've noticed is that the second chemo drug can cause headaches. I have not yet gotten an actual headache, but I do get a sense of pressure in my sinuses. They were able to rectify that immediately by slowing down the drip, so it has not been a problem.

I feel light-headed and kind of woozy after chemo, so I don't drive myself home. I don't really feel tired, just kind of off. I usually take an anti-nausea pill or two that first day, not because I've felt sick, but because my stomach has just felt different than usual, so I take it as a preventative.

The second, third, and fourth day after chemo, I take an anti-nausea pill (a different one from the first) twice a day. I also go back in 24 hours after chemo for a Neulasta shot, which helps my body to produce more white blood cells - this is important, because the chemo, which targets all rapidly-growing cells (hence the hair loss and digestive tract issues), causes white blood cell counts to drop. The shot can cause bone pain - I have not yet had this, but one person who did told me it was unpleasant but easily taken care of with Ibuprofen.

Pretty soon after the chemo treatment, I notice that I get indigestion, and it seems to worsen for a few days and then get better after several days or a week. I'm able to take Tums or Prilosec, and so far, the Tums has been enough for me.

What happened last time is that by Sunday evening (I'd had the chemo on Friday), I was feeling pretty yucky. Again, no stomach upset, but that heavy, cloudy, achy feeling you get when you are getting the flu. By Monday morning, I felt fine, but by about 3pm each day, this feeling returns - I wake up fine, and then the chemo fog descends. I also had trouble reaching for words during that first week. I pretty much came home, ate supper, and got into pajamas and bed, not necessarily to fall asleep, but just to rest. Usually, eating and resting make the foggy/achy cloud lift. I do try to get to sleep earlier on days like this.

I also became a ravenous carnivore, which is good, because protein is something to eat a lot of during chemo. I also get very thirsty - also good, because I'm supposed to drink about 2 liters a day.

Constipation and diarrhea can both be side effects of chemo. For anyone who struggles with constipation, I can recommend Senna-Lax, which is very natural and not at all harsh. I haven't (yet) had to deal with diarrhea, for which I am thankful.

By the beginning of the second week after chemo, though, a lot of these symptoms disappear or lessen. I'm told that the fatigue will increase over time. I have so far not had either nausea or vomiting, and my oncologist assures me that I won't. But I should add, too, that I'm on the lowest level of anti-nausea meds, and there's a whole list of others that they give people who do have problems with this. What I hear repeatedly from many, many people is that most people no longer experience this, and when they do, they have mild nausea that is manageable. In fact, gaining weight during chemo is not uncommon!

I do have sleep disruption, but I'm not sure if that is an effect of the chemo or if it's due to my cold (and ear infection, and bronchitis, which my antibiotics seem to be, happily, wiping out!), or all the liquid I'm drinking that means getting up at night to pee. That's ok - one of the anti-nausea drugs causes drowsiness, so I take it before I go to bed and again when I wake up during the night so that I can ensure enough rest.

So - this is the beginning of my experience with chemotherapy. It is not awful. It's not even especially unpleasant, thus far, except for a couple of days when I just feel under the weather. Mostly, it's an adjustment more than anything else. I'm sure I will have less positive things to say as time goes on and I feel more tired, but for now, it's ok.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


If you have ever found me the least bit attractive, it ends now. If you want to continue the dream, stop reading here.

OK, I warned you.

So, as part of the glamour associated with chemo, my pubic hair is falling out. I first discovered this when I stepped out of the shower this morning and noticed that I had left a little trail. In retrospect, I've been shedding for a couple of days on the toilet seat, as well, but I hadn't really noticed until I saw the shower evidence, and then I put two and two together.

If I could control this process, I would do it the way I imagine SpongeBob would do it, if SpongeBob had pubic hair: I would sneeze, and all the hair would shoot out simultaneously, and that would be that. But no - I get to shed, in a very undignified manner, for however long it takes to shed.

You might be thinking, "that's not so bad. In fact, that's kind of funny."

There's more.

For the past several weeks, I've had some kind of viral bronchitis that subjects me to violent coughing fits every so often. As a woman who has borne a child, that means that these coughing fits force me to "leak" - in other words, to pee my pants ever so slightly. I have peed my pants many, many times in the past couple of weeks, so frequently that I am now permanently sporting a pantiliner. Thankfully, I am not (yet) in need of something with more absorbency (such as Depends), though I do need to change pads after every "episode." I developed a head cold this weekend, and found that sneezing can accomplish this same outcome. If you ever see a woman walking, and she stops walking to cough or sneeze, you can safely assume that she has stopped walking so that she can press her thighs together with every ounce of strength she can muster.

Still here? I haven't gotten to the most disgusting part yet.

So, I get these weird pimples on the backs and inside of my thighs, usually after I shave my legs. They don't clear up like normal pimples do. Instead, they swell up and get really red and disgusting, and then they eventually chill out and fade somewhat, leaving me with dark purple marks forever. I've stopped wearing my swimsuit without shorts because of this. Anyway, so now that I'm on chemo and I have to be worried about all manner of infection, I've had to clean the latest one with alcohol and bandage it up with antibacterial ointment. But first, of course, I had to call my mom, the former nurse, and ask for her advice on disgusting and embarrassing pimple care (the obvious question: to pop or not to pop? We decided not to, since breaking the skin involves a greater risk of infection.), which in itself involved breaking a bit of protocol for me, since I usually don't share this sort of thing (not that you can tell from this post). I sincerely hope that when I wake up tomorrow morning and inspect the area, I don't see anything that means I have to show it to my doctor, since this particular one is quite high up on my inner thigh and therefore in a location I would really prefer to keep to myself (well, I've shared it with you, but enough is enough).

There's nothing else particularly disgusting going on with me right now, but rest assured, I will keep you posted.

Overhead by my friend in Toronto.

"Rosa sat so Martin could march. Martin marched so Obama could run. Obama ran so our children could fly."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rules for talking to people who have cancer. (Or any serious illness, for that matter.)

I'm new at this, so I only have a couple:

1. Do NOT mention people you know who have died from the disease. I mean, Jesus, do I really even need to say this?! WTF?! I don't care how well-meaning you are. I know that you are trying to make a connection and to tell me that this issue has deeply touched your life. But that is not a connection - that is about *your* needs, not about the other person's needs. Along these same lines, do not hint about people who have not done so well, do not make jokes about the other person's potential life span, just do not allow the specter of death to enter the conversation unless the person with the illness wants to bring it up.

2. Please don't look to the person with the illness to reassure *you*. That means not asking hopeful/panicked questions about the stage of cancer, about how early the disease has been caught, etc. If you want to ask about treatment, only do so if you can take it in stride. That means *not* looking or sounding freaked out. A good rule of thumb: you probably don't know much about this person's specific situation, so don't make assumptions, and please don't look worried when someone is telling you that they're feeling very positive - that is extremely off-putting and, for anyone with anxieties, anxiety-provoking.

I'm sure that there will be more to follow.

Calling all WS practitioners who center race

Since the call for proposals below deals with the same issues that tend to explode in bloglandia pretty regularly, I wanted to highlight this call:

Difficult Dialogues: NWSA 2009 will examine how feminist intellectual, political, and institutional practices cannot be adequately practiced if the politics of gender are conceptualized (overtly or implicitly) as superseding or transcending the politics of race, sexuality, social class, nation, and disability.

Despite claims that "everyone" now "does" (or has always "done") WS from intersectional and transnational perspectives, many of the ways in which the politics of both race and nation have been taken up in the field have been more nominal than transformative. Despite widespread changes in the WS curriculum, in feminist scholarship, and in WS institutional formations, there remains an ongoing struggle over what constitutes the legitimate terrain of feminist theory and inquiry, past and present.

The Difficult Dialogues theme builds on Johnnella Butler's essays (beginning with her 1989 article in the Women's Review of Books) about the contested relationship among and between Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women's Studies in the U.S. academy. Butler pinpointed a reluctance to engage questions of gender and sexuality in Black Studies and Ethnic Studies, and a reluctance to engage with questions of race and class in Women's Studies.

NWSA 2009 identifies several thematic areas in which ongoing and new difficult dialogues across differences are urgently needed but frequently avoided, consciously or unconsciously:

· Thinking, Speaking, and Working Margin to Margin;
· Intersectionality as Theory, Method, and Politics;
· Reconceptualizing Women's Studies within the Transnational;
· Negotiating the Politics of Memory; and
· Women's Studies 40 Years Later: Where Are We Going, Where
Have We Been?

NWSA invites all of those interested to submit proposals for panels, papers, workshops, and performances that represent the wide rage of intersectional and transnational scholarship in the US and beyond.

To see the full CFP and to download it, please visit the NWSA Conference site.

Submission Deadline: February 15, 2009
Proposal submission site will be open soon.

I knew things were going to go well...

...when I first turned on CNN early in the evening and saw all the talking heads saying, "this suggests that Obama is not only going to win, but potentially, win big," and then I flipped it over to FOX where they were running the headline, "too close to call."

Also, the SD abortion ban failed again, which was by no means a sure thing - for months, people working on the inside have been saying that they fully expected it to go the other way. I'm not sure what turned around, but I'm thrilled that it failed.

Now, let's just hope Proposition 8 in CA also fails, and that Al Franken beats out Norm Coleman in the recount...

I am reminded of Michele Obama's comment (used to try to discredit her) about feeling proud to be an American for the first time. I felt some of that on the night that Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, but what I feel now is much more powerful. I have a lot more pride in this country and in its people. I really feel like we are headed for a change, a change that will help us all. And I am delighted to have as a leader someone whom I can respect not only for being an educated and talented leader, but also for being someone with integrity, discipline, and wisdom. I'm grateful that we will have a leader whom other countries will respect, and with whom they will work. And I'm glad that we have finally made it to an era when a Black man can not only become president, but can do so with the substantial support of white voters.

Here's to the next four years! ~clink~

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The West Wing and Obama.

Over the last week, as I've been adjusting to new sleep cycles (from the chemo? Possibly - maybe also just from my cold), I've been watching a lot of cable t.v. In particular, I've been catching reruns of the West Wing, the show I watched during much of Bush's presidency so that I could pretend that things weren't really as bad as they are and that there really was a smart, sane president in charge of the country.

Today, I saw this article in the NY Times about Barack Obama, John McCain, and the fictional campaign race between Democrat Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). Apparently, writers of the West Wing based Santos' campaign - and, perhaps, his character - on then up-and-coming Barack Obama.

After living vicariously in the West Wing all these years, it's nice to know that this fictional reality seems likely to come true!

Following the Script: Obama, McCain and ‘The West Wing’

Published: October 29, 2008
When Eli Attie, a writer for “The West Wing,” prepared to plot some episodes about a young Democratic congressman’s unlikely presidential bid, he picked up the phone and called David Axelrod.

Mr. Attie, a former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, and Mr. Axelrod, a political consultant, had crossed campaign trails before. “I just called him and said, ‘Tell me about Barack Obama,’ ” Mr. Attie said.

Days after Mr. Obama, then an Illinois state senator, delivered an address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the two men held several long conversations about his refusal to be defined by his race and his aspirations to bridge the partisan divide. Mr. Axelrod was then working on Mr. Obama’s campaign for the United States Senate; he is now Mr. Obama’a chief strategist.

Four years later, the writers of “The West Wing” are watching in amazement as the election plays out. The parallels between the final two seasons of the series (it ended its run on NBC in May 2006) and the current political season are unmistakable. Fiction has, once again, foreshadowed reality.

Watching “The West Wing” in retrospect — all seven seasons are available on DVD, and episodes can be seen in syndication — viewers can see allusions to Mr. Obama in almost every facet of Matthew Santos, the Hispanic Democratic candidate played by Jimmy Smits. Santos is a coalition-building Congressional newcomer who feels frustrated by the polarization of Washington. A telegenic and popular fortysomething with two young children, Santos enters the presidential race and eventually beats established candidates in a long primary campaign.

Wearing a flag pin, Santos announces his candidacy by telling supporters, “I am here to tell you that hope is real.” And he adds, “In a life of trial, in a world of challenges, hope is real.” Viewers can almost hear the crowd cheering, “Yes, we can.”

Comparisons between Senator John McCain and the “West Wing” Republican candidate, Arnold Vinick, a white-haired Senate stalwart with an antitax message and a reputation for delivering “straight talk” to the press, also abound. Vinick, played by Alan Alda, is deemed a threat to Democrats because of his ability to woo moderate voters. And he takes great pride in his refusal to pander to voters, telling an aide: “People know where I stand. They may not like it, but they know I’ll stick with it.”

Even the vice-presidential picks are similar: the Democrat picks a Washington veteran as his vice presidential candidate to add foreign policy expertise to the ticket, while the Republican selects a staunchly conservative governor to shore up the base.

Certainly some of the parallels are coincidental. It is unlikely, for example, that the writers knew Mr. Obama had an affection for Bob Dylan when they made Santos a Dylan fan. But it is the unintentional similarities that make the DVDs of the sixth and seventh seasons, which at the time received mixed reviews, so rewarding to watch now. In both “The West Wing” and in real life, for example, the Phillies played in the World Series during the election campaign.

As the primaries unfolded this year, “I saw the similarities right away,” said Lawrence O’Donnell, a producer and writer for the series who has appeared on MSNBC as a political analyst. Mr. O’Donnell had used Mr. McCain as one of the templates for the Vinick character in the episodes he wrote, though he said that “McCain’s resemblance to the Vinick character was much stronger in 2000 than in 2008.”

Echoing the criticism Mr. McCain faced during the primaries, a White House aide in “The West Wing” contends that Vinick is “not conservative enough” for the Republican base. Sometimes the two candidates’ situations are almost identical: when the press starts asking where Vinick attends church, he tells his staff that “I haven’t gone to church for a while.” Asked in July by The New York Times about the frequency of his church attendance, Mr. McCain said, “Not as often as I should.”

Mr. Alda and Mr. McCain are the same age. When a hard-edged strategist played by Janeane Garofalo joins the Santos campaign, she immediately alludes to Vinick’s age. “He’s been in the Senate for like 90 years. He was practically born in a committee room,” she says.

In the same way that Obama surrogates have subtly knocked Mr. McCain’s lack of computer skills, the Garofalo character remarks to the Santos campaign manager, Josh Lyman: “Why are you always talking about high-tech jobs? Because Vinick uses a manual typewriter.”

Conversely, Santos staffers talk about getting video of the candidate with his “adorable young children hugging their hale and vital dad.” The casting of Mr. Smits introduced story lines about the prospect of a minority president. But when an aide suggests a fund-raising drive in a Latino community, Santos snaps: “I don’t want to just be the brown candidate. I want to be the American candidate.” The Obama campaign has made similar assertions.

Still, “The West Wing” — like Mr. Obama — does not ignore racial issues entirely. In the seventh season Santos delivers a speech on race at a critical moment for his campaign, and staffers privately worry that voters will lie about their willingness to vote for a minority candidate.

If the show sometimes seems like a political fantasy — a real debate where politicians are required to answer questions? a candidate rejecting an attack ad? — it also reflects the tenor of the real-life campaign season.

Santos wins the nomination only after a lengthy fight on the convention floor, an inexact parallel to Obama’s extended primary fight with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Just as the Obama campaign pivoted to the economy this fall, Lyman tells Santos staffers that “this new economic message may be our ticket,” and he winds up being right. An economic crisis does not ensue, but back-to-back emergencies on “The West Wing” — a nuclear power plant malfunction and a dispute in Kazakhstan — bring to mind the election-defining qualities of the actual economic crisis.

“Dramatically, they are exactly the same thing: the unforseeable,” Mr. O’Donnell said.

As President Bush did during the bailout talks, Jed Bartlet, the Democratic “West Wing” president played by Martin Sheen, brings both candidates to the White House for a briefing. Facing the prospect of deploying 150,000 American soldiers to Kazakhstan three weeks before the election, Vinick grumbles, “I can say goodbye to my tax cut.” He tells Santos, “Your education plan’s certainly off the table.”

Santos emerges victorious weeks later, but only after a grueling election night. Online, some “West Wing” fans are wondering whether the show will wind up forecasting the real-life result as well. In Britain, where the series remains popular in syndication, a recent headline on a blog carried by the newspaper The Telegraph declared: “Barack Obama will win: It’s all in ‘The West Wing.’ ”