It should go without saying that Norman Lear couldn't make 'All in the Family' today.
The legendary sitcom featured a rough but ultimately decent man who happened to be a bigot. Archie Bunker came into our living rooms each week full of bluster and ignorance. We winced … and laughed … learning something about ourselves along the way.
Carroll O’Connor’s signature role made “Family” the decade’s best TV show. What other series featured such a complicated character at its core? Just imagine a TV executive trying to pitch a similar show today. Who would even try?
It’s why Lear’s latest political salvo is so disheartening.
The TV legend’s political group, the liberal organization People for the American Way, is planning to target the GOP for so-called “hate speech” and “anti-Muslim rhetoric” as the presidential campaign intensifies.
“…there are those who want to lead this country by openly calling for religious discrimination — for shutting down mosques, for closing our borders to desperate refugee families unless they are Christians,” said Lear at the People for the American Way’s annual Spirit of Liberty dinner Saturday.
Lear specifically cited Donald Trump in his comments, but he also referenced the current GOP presidential field beyond the real estate mogul, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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We’re all justifiably concerned about terrorism, illegal immigration and the limits to our national compassion. What are the best ways to approach these issues? It’s certainly not by labeling Republican opinions as “hate speech,” a term used to marginalize both the arguments and the people making them.
It’s a recurring tactic of the Left. Don’t debate the issues. Shut down the opposition by slamming them as haters or bigots. Not only is Lear twisting Trump’s admittedly overheated words, he’s using the term “hate speech” to impugn other GOP candidates.
It sounds antithetical to both Lear’s classic TV series and his group’s own mission statement:
People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech … Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life.