RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

Archie Bunker, Donald Trump, Civil Rights & More…


By Ron Signore

Sometimes the most powerful voice for a viewpoint comes from media presence. Maybe it is the bias of the news, maybe it is your favorite musician or actor, or even from something you read. In 2020, this is almost a guaranteed way of influence, especially with all the outlets for information to get out. Furthermore, these outlets spark debate much of the time.

There was a very recent comment from a news anchor criticizing an athlete, a very admired one, for having an opinion of the current social injustices. To summarize, it was expressed that this athlete should focus on their day job, dismissing his view. This was so disrespectful, yet, in many ways, this is a common occurrence. Time after time we see sources or constituents of the right-wing belief express their opinion to stifle the liberal minded.

Currently, being outspoken about the world, most specifically the political state of this nation, is more popular than ever. Voices are clearly raising their volumes. The United States is seeing protests and calls to vote for change from the left-wing agenda. The Supreme Court is making rulings that show they have heard the message to that extent.

Though we have seemed to make many steps in a forward direction with social issues facing the country, it has not been fast enough. Furthermore, with the current unrest with civil rights being violated by police brutality (putting it lightly), we show signs of still socially being farther behind than many civilized countries around the world. Continuing that thought, we have a President in office that has shown a significant lack of progressing basic human rights in the country. This hope of oppression from our current administration continuously distributes paranoid non-sense via social media, misinformation non the less. The supporters eat it up and the divide in the country gets wider.

Time after time, it seems to be the right dismissing the idea of the left. Hoping to stop the world from turning. Reminds me of one of my favorite Tony Soprano quotes, “…out there it’s the 1990’s, but in this house it’s 1954.” It is 2020, yet, we have seen constant shades of gray to that “1954” period. Again, constant civil unrest due to police brutality against African Americans sparked protests. The protests have at the very basic level seem to have been an awakening. Will change truly come? Yet to be seen. But it has continued to point out the systemic racism displayed through many facets of life.

The worst part is how blind people are to it. They still fight to keep hateful heritage symbols and monuments from the confederacy. Cries that their history is being destroyed when they fail to see how their history and ancestors destroyed the lives and futures for countless souls.

For one, what if we fought these issues through an unmentioned source of media? A show. For some that is observed through TV, others, through Netflix or other streaming services. What if the fight not only proved a point of equality and progressing into this century, but made the resisters to change look foolish for doing so?

Times are so eerily similar in concept to that of the 1970’s. Prejudice and racism is being challenged by the accepting open minded liberal and resisted by the conservatives fighting to keep their neat little controlled utopic vision of a world. The acceptance of the LGBTQ community is still being fought and there is an ignorance of recognition of equality still.

During that 1970’s timeframe, not every household had a television. Those that did typically got their information from the evening news. Others formed opinions by what they read or the music they followed. Though, one television show gained strong popularity despite its controversial content. The show was “All in the Family,” starring Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker and Rob Reiner as Michael Stivic.

In short, the show was about a young married couple (Mike and Gloria) who move in with Gloria’s parents while Mike finishes his education. In typical sitcom fashion, Mike and Gloria’s father, Archie, were the perfect odd couple. Archie was the proud nationalist stubborn and ignorant American representing the Republican Party. Mike was the free-thinking liberal concerned with the issues faced with society that the conservative agenda ignored to address.

The show was great for a laugh, especially to the simple mind. But for those who look deeper, the comedy was from the embarrassment of the stubbornness of conservative ways of life. The show highlighted things like racial integration into neighborhoods, acceptance of one’s sexual orientation, politics, religion, Women’s Lib, sex and struggles with the economy. These topics were considered taboo, and ignorant language to illustrate these points is what made it controversial.

Not only would the topics resonate to that of today’s climate but pointing out the lack of progression in those that resist the changing world would be quite entertaining. Overly highlighting the ignorance of hate involved with racism or other social concepts through a comedy based show may help people reflect and search deep down to decide if they are part of the problem or strive to be part of the solution. Plus, bonus, the show made President Nixon look bad through these stories (he did not need much help with his Presidency ending dishonorably). There would not need to be much creativity to illustrate the disappointment to America the current president holds.

Though my generation is far more accepting than previous generations, we still have an uphill battle. These topics come up being a father. As much as I would like to bias my kids to think like me, visualizing the story can help them drive their own opinions. Political satire has always been a favorite of mine. From Dana Carvey’s imitations of President George H.W. Bush, Frank Caliendo’s of W, Phil Hartman of Clinton, The Rock as Obama, and most recently, though slightly different, Sarah Cooper’s renditions of Trumpisms to shows like All in the Family. Can you imagine Rob Reiner taking on the role of Archie Bunker in a 2020 version of the show? Remakes and reboots are always viewed with hesitancy from me because you never know if it will be as good as the original. But this idea rings different to me. Addressing reality for the modern day and having a platform that shows how families deal with these issues and raise their kids with the differing viewpoints could help bring some common ground to progress as the world keeps moving forward.

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