By Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
January 17, 2010
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Today would be Carroll O'Connor's birthday. In the person of Archie Bunker, starring in "All in the Family," a sitcom in the 70s, he personified an American bigot.
And, oh how we laughed. He was absolutely outrageous in saying aloud what we might be saying among ourselves, while at the same time totally accepting of equal rights for all and enjoying the comradeship of everyone else in school or the workplace
I'm tempted to just let go of the way the media is handling Senator Harry Reid's few words in the book, "Game Change," suggesting in a private conversation "an African-American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," could capture the top spot. In reality, Reid was very impressed with Senator Obama and praised his oratorical skills and charisma.
For that brief innocuous paragraph, scores of critics emerged ready to have this seasoned Senator resign his post and fade into obscurity. Of course, President Obama accepted his apology, instantly, and I wish he had taken it further and said, "No need to apologize, Harry, I was counting on those very characteristics myself to pursue the office." But he didn't say that.
I didn't vote for Barack Obama, but it was his youth and inexperience that held me back, not his color. My vote goes to the person and I liked Giuliani. He saw the handwriting on the wall: Americans are not ready for a divorced president.
I'd like to know who decided what Americans are ready for.
Supposedly, we weren't ready for a Catholic President. John F. Kennedy squelched that notion by shaming the crowds in the West Virginia primary with his oft-repeated line: "I refuse to believe that I was denied the right to be president on the day I was baptized."
Prior to his candidacy, only one other Catholic had run for the office, and he lost: It was New York's Governor Al Smith whose religion was the prevailing factor in his loss. The running joke then and also with John Kennedy's campaign was that the first thing he would do if a Catholic wins on Election Day was to send a one-word telegram to the Vatican advising the Pope to "Pack."
Shades of color and percentage of Negro blood is too ridiculous a metric to believe anyone would measure a man or woman on the basis of either. And yet, it's done.
What's disturbing today is that with everything going on in the world, the media (television and Internet particularly) spend 24 hours a day with each commentator repeating the news from the previous hour. I do read print media online while my husband John reads the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in the other room. The good thing about paper is that you can read it from the first headlines to the last and then use it to line the birdcage.
But the electronic media goes on and on about misdeeds until another scandal takes place. It's either a marriage upheaval in some celebrity's home, a kidnapped child, a break-in at Friendly Express with surveillance cameras providing a video for our evening entertainment. Were Americans ready for any of this?
America is still a melting pot and we used to be proud of that - all in together, finding our own way while helping others to find theirs and becoming Americans together. I'm an American of Irish descent. I'm not an Irish-American - no hyphen. How can Americans not be ready for what's before us? I find it expedient lately to watch out for what may lie ahead. I try not to fix blame.
When the Queen of England spoke on Christmas Day she was speaking to her subjects and not to the world, and yet, she referred to the failing economy and other worldwide problems.
That brought home to me that conserving our income, planning more carefully, was simply expedient. It's a worldwide problem. It is not a situation I can blame on the current Administration nor the previous one. It is what it is.
And so, to Harry Reid, I suggest he keep on doing what he's doing and has done to the satisfaction of his constituents for decades and, according to Obama, "has always been on the side of right." He had nothing to apologize for. And if in his heart he thinks he did, then blame the publisher who should have editors step down because they left in what could appear to be a very sensitive line.
Poor Harry. He's no Archie Bunker who said what he thought and made no apologies about it.