Forty years ago, the TV series All in the Family ruled the airways. It topped the Nielsen ratings for five straight years. Now, reruns are offered in the evening.
The show’s protagonist, Archie Bunker, is a conservative, reactionary and bigoted family man who, in his heart of hearts, believes he is the Americano Supremo—the ultimate WASP. We laugh at Archie’s ignorant rants, but want to slap him in the face at the same time.
Example: Bunker, to guest star Sammy Davis Jr.: “Now, no prejudice intended, but I always check with the Bible on these here things. I think that, I mean, if God had meant for us to be together, he’d-a put us together. But look what he done. He put you over in Africa, and put the rest of us in all the white countries.” How about this gem: “If you liberals keep gettin’ your way, we’re all gonna hear a big, loud flush—the sound of the U.S. of A. goin’ straight down the toilet.” In a recent televised debate where a Texas governor bragged about his state leading the nation in putting people to death (creating thunderous applause), this Bunker wisdom comes to mind: “It’s a proven fact that capital punishment is a detergent for crime.”
The very same Death-to-Liberals/God-Bless-America mindset that makes us laugh at Bunker seems to have infiltrated the modern American conservative movement. Is a House of Un-American Activites Part III far behind? We are witnessing bizarre behaviors from these surly and uncivil wackos who, like Bunker, believe they are wrapped in a shroud of patriotism and can therefore say and do no wrong. In the public domain, when the topic of contention suddenly shifts to a windy diatribe of how great the country and their “Right is right!” ideology is—look out. Here comes the latest Bunker impersonation.
I would like to believe the majority of Americans are wise to the brutality of Limbaughism and are more than willing to band together in a spirit of harmonious interest, rather than roll over and succumb to the volatile antics of that divisive group that thinks it’s making a monumental difference because it foams at the mouth.
Bunker: “Whatever happened to the good old days, when kids was scared to death of their parents?”
Mammoth Lakes, Calif.