Just as few days ago as the 111th Congress of the United States convened in Washington; nine white men from isolated outposts in Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Kansas and California were meeting with reporters just around the corner from the White House.
Emboldened by what observers and pundits have described as the new "Tea Party Congress," they brandished a manifesto proposing legislation to make a distinction of American birth certificates between persons "born" subject to the jurisdiction of the United-States, and persons who are "not born" subject to the jurisdiction of America. Essentially, a "Class B" birth certificate for the offspring of non-U.S. parents who are born in America: So called "anchor babies"...The American born children of what the group described to reporters as an..."illegal invasion of roofers, house cleaners, carpenters, nursemaids, drug mules, drywallers, hookers, gardeners."
Forty years ago this week "All In The Family" debuted on North American television. Though it forever changed television, it seems that it's ability to use comedy as an equal opportunity weapon to tackle politically charged issues has been abandoned to the garbage bin of history. It is not surprising therefore that in the aftermath of the shocking and dreadful events which have unfolded in Tucson, Arizona; Archie Bunker has surfaced back in America's national consciousness and conversation, with some observers and pundits claiming that the legendary character portrayed by actor Caroll O'Connor who died in 2001..."was the original Tea Partier"
As Americans (Indeed the entire world) may have learned from the events which have unfolded in Arizona's 8th Congressional District. It is entirely possible that over-the-top rhetoric whether it is pronounced by politicians, far too frequently by television commentators, or quite simply by unbalanced people; may lead to violence.
Norman Lear who is credited with creating the characters of "All In The Family" isn't quite sure whether Archie Bunker was 40 years ahead of his time a charter member of the "Tea Party Movement". Of Archie, Mr. Lear who is 88 years old, is quoted in the current issue of Parade Magazine: "He would, however, defend the Tea Party because he, too, was for small government and fiscal responsibleness - just as he sang, ...Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again."
In early 1971 Archie Bunker's worries and fears: Whether about losing his job; making the next mortgage payment; or quite simply that the world (embodied in son-in-law "Meathead") is moving too fast, struck the very same chord and fears which grip modern Americans.
But as Tucson bears witness: Far greater dangers are lying amongst our current hyper-partisanship biases than Archie Bunker's issues forty years hence. Today, the media and perhaps more so personal mass communication devices via the Internet; wireless technology; Twitter and social media of every description instantly assign motive; and far too frequently speculation of every nature is passed-on as fact without any reasonable effort at confirmation.