The White Patriarchy Way
Is this the America some conservative Republicans want to return to?
If this 1977 cartoon rings eerily familiar to today’s troubled political climate, it should.
Set in the Seventies
Like today, the country in the 1970’s was running out of promise.
Discontent, frustration and anger ran deep especially among blue-collar white males. Faced with an unwinnable war, political corruption, and an ailing economy many Americans were feeling like losers.
A once great America was fading. The shiny America of post war promises and unending progress was now tarnishing.
The American Way Loses its Way
Authority had broken down, skepticism ruled and the slow disappearance of a universally accepted way of life challenged what had long been the consensus.
The marginalized and those without a voice would not be ignored, closeted, condescended to or discriminated against.
And they weren’t going away.
Feminists reveled in the power of sisterhood, gays liberated themselves from the closet, and Blacks were demanding affirmative action. While the forgotten began to have a voice, many in the so-called silent majority felt ignored.
The “American Way of Life” had shattered into a bewildering array of lifestyles and some felt American values and the nuclear family, the very bedrock of our society, was under attack. By the mid 1970’s Mom and Dad were divorced, the factory where Dad worked had moved to Taiwan, Sis was a corporate vice president, and Junior was out of the closet and gay.
Born again Christians wanted to restore the nations moral compass along more fundamentalist lines.
Middle Americans were feeling put out, overlooked and felt they needed to stand up and reclaim the values that once made the country great again.
That same sentiment and call to the disenfranchised silent majority is embedded in Trumps slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Trump even used the retro phrase “The country is fed up with what’s going on,” “You know, in the old days they used the term ‘silent majority.’ We have the silent majority back, folks.”
Those Were the Days
When this cartoon appeared, no one represented the silent majority of fading white male patriarchy than another sexist, racist, xenophobic from Queens, N.Y.
All in The Family’s Archie Bunker, that flag waving, John Wayne loving, loveable blue collar bigot became a powerful spokesman for those President Richard Nixon had termed the Silent Majority.
Resentful, Archie was fed up with intellectuals, women libbers, bleeding heart liberals, out-sourced jobs, and other elites intent on messing up a way of life that was working pretty well.
“I’m white, I’m male, I’m protestant,” Archie Bunker once declared. “Where’s there a law to protect me?”
Girls Were Girls and Men Were Men
Suddenly white male entitlement was being challenged beginning its slow decline. Like Trump supporters, he missed it and wanted it back. Just as Archie Bunker pined for the good ol’ days, today’s GOP has fetishized the Good Old Days not just in rhetoric or sentiment but in policy that aims to take us back to them.
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© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.