Americans Just Elected Archie Bunker!


Remember Archie Bunker? He was the central character in Norman Lear’s “All in the Family.” Archie was the working class bigot we all laughed when Carroll O’Connor brilliantly played him during the 1970s.

Everyone loved Archie. Someone even printed a t-shirt: “Archie Bunker for President.”

The Carroll character admired Herbert Hoover. He longed for a time when “we didn’t need no welfare state,” and when “’goils’ were ‘goils’ and men were men.” He was patriarchal, racist and xenophobic. He despised “homos” and called liberals like his son-in-law “meatheads.”

Well, believe it or not: Americans just followed through on that t-shirt slogan. They elected Donald Trump — a billionaire Archie Bunker. Better put, America’s Archie Bunkers voted in Mr. Trump as (in Norman Lear’s own words) “another version of themselves.”

Like those who elected him, Donald Trump is tired of having to pussyfoot (ahem!) around the sensibilities of blacks, women, Hispanics, non-Christians, and others who have exhibited annoying touchiness around the epithets white men have applied to them so comfortably in the past. Like them, he is the sworn enemy of “political correctness.”

True, Trump doesn’t know much about history or politics. He can’t even define the “nuclear triad.” He is mistrustful of scientists warning about human-induced climate change. He wonders: “If we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?”

But to his admirers (in Orwell’s words) such “ignorance is strength.” Once again, it means Mr. Trump is like his constituency.  He reflects their own mental processes. For them, what his detractors call “ignorance” means Mr. Trump is unencumbered by indoctrination into the Beltway’s arcania and by the restrictions of international business-as-usual. None of that is working anyway. So to hell with it all!

Since things can’t get much worse, why not elect a climate change denier and someone accused of and having bragged about multiple instances of sexual assault? Why not vote for a man endorsed by the Klan – or one who has promised to punish women who have abortions. So what if he wants to build a wall along the Mexican border, prevent Muslims from entering the country, reinstate torture, racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies, deport undocumented Hispanics, jail his presidential opponent, lower taxes for the wealthy, dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and punch those who disagree with him in the face?

Archie Bunkers love all that stuff.

And maybe it’s just what we all need. It may bring the entire dysfunctional system down. I mean, Donald Trump is hated nearly as much by the Republican Establishment as by Democrats. This may be the end of them both.

And at least he isn’t as hawkish as his opponent, Hilary Clinton. His vaunted friendship with Vladimir Putin may keep us out of the nuclear war that Mrs. Clinton appeared to salivate over. As well, Trump seems less trustful of NATO than Clinton who loves that particular engine of war.

Moreover, the Donald will predictably mobilize the “Meatheads” among us. In fact, they somehow seem to do better when people like Nixon or “W” are in power. So after January’s inauguration, watch progressives from Black Live Matter activists to Dakota Access Pipeline Water Protectors mobilize in unending protest.

Finally, the surprising election results where (once again) the victor received fewer votes than the defeated, may lead to election reform. It’s time to insure that everyone’s vote actually matters, rather than those cast in just a few “swing states.” Reforms should include shortening of the electoral season, reversal of the Citizens United decision, abolition of the Electoral College, universal reintroduction of paper ballots, reinstatement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and elimination of voter suppression tactics that militate mostly against people of color.

Choosing Archie Bunker for president is not entirely without merit.

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

10 thoughts on “Americans Just Elected Archie Bunker!”

  1. So everybody – a lot of us – who voted for Trump is the worst kind of meathead, like the deplorable people Queen Hillary looked down on? The people who were not sharp enough to make millions from colluding with Goldman Sachs? The ones that she and Bill put in prison, or shipped there jobs offshore? The ones not floating in the rarified air of higher incomes? Let’s think again about condemning such a large number of our fellow citizens. After all most of us are not in a position to arrange the deaths of thousands of civilians. How much blood does Trump have on his hands compared to Hillary?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. Hillary was a fatally flawed candidate. She and her people reaped the harvest sown by their rigging of the primary process against Bernie. She certainly represents a hideous establishment that needs destruction. But in my opinion, Trump represents another category altogether. Please review the characteristics I enumerated in the Archie Bunker piece. The man’s election (despite his losing the popular vote) brings back memories of what happened in Germany in 1933, when all kinds of good Germans voted for a complete fool. In fact, as I noted in my reply to Wondering999 (above), I’m sorry I wrote the Bunker blog. It trivializes the tragedy that Trump represents.


  2. I just feel sorry for all of us. We deserved to be better educated and prepared to vote. We needed to be told the truth rather than being constantly propagandized and misled. Trump will be an absolute disaster in this role, but it would not have been better with Hillary. Our culture has let us down in the most fundamental ways. We really couldn’t make any better choices than we did. Unfortunately it is too late to make the deep corrections in our way of life that would be needed to avoid the extinction staring us in the face. So I pray for all of us as we go unconsciously into the remaining years that are left for us.


    1. As usual, a very perceptive comment, Mike. The system is clearly broken. I’m hoping that the current disaster will be enough to bring it down entirely. Certainly, the Democratic Party needs to change radically. The Republicans are a lost cause. It’s encouraging though that the GOP’s Establishment hates Trump nearly as much as progressives do.


  3. I do not see Archie Bunker, Mike R-S. In Trump I see another flawed human being who is willing to try and assume an enormous responsibility, a task fraught with huge risks to him, his family and his supporters (as well as his opposition.) And I will continue to pray for Trump, and for the rest of us who need all the help we can get


    1. I agree, we all need prayers at this very threatening moment in our history. I disagree, however, that Trump is simply “another flawed human being.” At the very least his climate change denial represents an unprecedented threat to the planet. As well, his hate-filled speech along with his catering to racism (endorsement by the KKK), misogyny, and religious intolerance move the country in exactly the opposite direction of that required by the times. What would it take for you personally to draw the conclusion that Trump is not simply an Archie Bunker, but much worse. In fact, I am sorry I made the Bunker analogy. It trivializes the disaster that just occurred — including the man’s election when he actually lost the popular vote.


      1. If one is into analogies, dare I say that the analogy is not to Archie Bunker but to Adolf Hitler. What would Jesus, or Bonhoffer, or Gandhi, or Mandela, or Thich Nacht Han, or the Dalai Lama do?


  4. ‘T’ is a person of his time. He is a materialist in the most fundamental way. He has made stuff his god. But, isn’t this just what our society has been fostering for decades with the meaning of ‘success’ having ‘more than’ or ‘bigger than’, etc.? His addiction to material things has made him willing to step on any toes, or necks, that get in his way as his motto must be: ‘the more-the better, regardless of who suffers’. How else could he brag that in one year he had acquired more than 620 million dollars without paying federal taxes and called himself ‘smart’ (how terribly sad for our society to foster such ‘values’). Remember when we started to think that having a ‘better’ brand of sneakers made one ‘worth more’ than the other guy. Remember when the slogan came out ‘keep up with the Jones’? Remember when ‘built in obsolescence’ became a known, and accepted, factor?
    According to W. Wink, a ‘materialist view claims that there is no heaven, no spiritual world, no God, no soul; nothing but what you can know through the five senses and reason…. Matter is ultimate…associated with consumerism, self-gratification, and the absence of spiritual values’. And, our society has gone along with this way. And, the ‘leaders’ of our traditional churches have been complicit by being more concerned with not ‘causing waves’ than by speaking out against this increasing worship of idols. Perhaps, we’ve earned just what we deserve; how terribly sad for the world! Although past-due, now is time to take stock and work together to maybe, somehow, do what we can to save the situation.


  5. From Australia… General sadness and disbelief that the dignity of public office could come to this. Let the people protest; we are with you in solidarity.


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