What I’ve Learned From Season 4 of “The Wire”: The System Can Be Destructive

 What I’ve Learned From Season 4 of “The Wire”: The System Can Be Destructive

I was in elementary and middle school when The Wire first aired. Occasionally, I would sneak an episode in while my parents were in another part of the house. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the show. I just remember the characters because of how gracefully their careers blossomed into Hollywood heavyweights. Truth is, that little kid in me who wanted to sneak and watch the show never got his itch scratched

until now.

Somewhere in between finishing my grad degree and visiting cupid in ICU, I’ve been spending quarantine watching The Wire. Each season has been a journey but nothing slaps quite like season 4. That’s because this season wasn’t just entertaining for me, it was enlightening. Well, more like reassuring. The season exposed so many truths about the downfalls of systemic institutions that seem to hinder communities as opposed to help them. It also showed how much damage is truly done when the city’s leaders choose to play politics as opposed to serving its people.

Life happens in cycles and we all play a part. From the kids to the adults, we got a firsthand view of how it unfolds on Season 4. 

Let’s start with the obvious; being selfish has a domino effect of consequences, some that we cannot see in the moment. Without spoiling the plot, I’ll just say that so many people who were sworn to serve others were constantly concerned with serving themselves. The best and the brightest found ways to “play the game” without causing too much trouble but, majority of the cast looked out for themselves and caused hell in the process.

Watching this season served as a reminder that whether we want to admit it or not, we are truly one community. Not just in Baltimore but everywhere. One thing that is done within the community can cost someone’s life on the other side of town or abroad. Often times, we risk it all for a small gain or just to simply “do our job”. 

My disconnect with that thought process is that I subscribe to the idea that we were designed for more. Playing “the game” is easy but being good at your job? Well, that’s another conversation for another Sunday.

This season angered me like none other because it exposed the faults of so many systems that society has created: education, law enforcement, public service, social services, etc; everyone can do better.

I come from the understanding that every system has outliers and for those outlier situations, a deviation from the “system” must be formed; sometimes to save a life. A lot of our systems that we put in place are flawed much like everything else that exists. Don’t be mistaken into thinking that I expect these systems to be perfect, I just expect them to be wider and more understanding.

Too often we view other people as a social security number and nothing more. I think that our leaders have a tendency to forget that behind those SSNs is a human being; Man, Woman, Child, Black, White, Latino, Asian;

a human being. 

I get it, though. Systemic regulations and guidelines help officials organize the city’s needs and when done correctly, they are able to help others. Without a way to deviate from the system (when need be), that same system causes more problems than it solves. Also, I’m not naive in noticing that a lot of these systems are put into place so that leaders can play “hot potato” with responsibility. 

Season 4 struck a nerve with me because I relate. I’m not the type of person to play politics and I’ve come to understand that I’m a rebel, of sorts. I live by the soul of the people and choose to fight for others with the voice that I’ve built over my career. In a lot of rooms that I stand in, my thinking places me in a box where others can’t relate. It’s given me a scarlet letter in the game but hey, the people respect me for being real. That’s fine by me.

Ego is germ. Much like the Coronavirus, it moves without a true understanding of the consequences of its infection. Throughout this whole season we watched a city pay for the sins of its leadership’s ego. For me, it solidified how important it is to hold our leaders accountable and to truly drive home the idea that brighter days start in the morning. Every child is different but guidance is always necessary, no matter the destination. I hope the systems that are in place now truly support the communities they serve.

Can’t be scared to go off-script to help someone. That’s my code.

Great season. Hit me on Instagram @BriansWorldLive.

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