|Source:Amazon- Robert Self's book.|
"In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and War on Poverty promised an array of federal programs to assist working-class families. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan declared the GOP the party of "family values" and promised to keep government out of Americans' lives. Again and again, historians have sought to explain the nation's profound political realignment from the 1960s to the 2000s, five decades that witnessed the fracturing of liberalism and the rise of the conservative right. The award-winning historian Robert O. Self is the first to argue that the separate threads of that realignment―from civil rights to women's rights, from the antiwar movement to Nixon's "silent majority," from the abortion wars to gay marriage, from the welfare state to neoliberal economic policies―all ran through the politicized American family.
Based on an astonishing range of sources, All in the Family rethinks an entire era. Self opens his narrative with the Great Society and its assumption of a white, patriotic, heterosexual man at the head of each family. Soon enough, civil rights activists, feminists, and gay rights activists, animated by broader visions of citizenship, began to fight for equal rights, protections, and opportunities. Led by Pauli Murray, Gloria Steinem, Harvey Milk, and Shirley Chisholm, among many others, they achieved lasting successes, including Roe v. Wade, antidiscrimination protections in the workplace, and a more inclusive idea of the American family.
Yet the establishment of new rights and the visibility of alternative families provoked, beginning in the 1970s, a furious conservative backlash. Politicians and activists on the right, most notably George Wallace, Phyllis Schlafly, Anita Bryant, and Jerry Falwell, built a political movement based on the perceived moral threat to the traditional family. Self writes that "family values" conservatives in fact "paved the way" for fiscal conservatives, who shared a belief in liberalism's invasiveness but lacked a populist message. Reagan's presidency united the two constituencies, which remain, even in these tumultuous times, the base of the Republican Party. All in the Family, an erudite, passionate, and persuasive explanation of our current political situation and how we arrived in it, will allow us to think anew about the last fifty years of American politics."
"Robert Self, Author, "All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960's"
Just to talk about Robert Self's political labels first and then I'll get into the sitcom All In The Family and it's impact on American culture:
If you were to listen to Robert Self, you would think that Liberals are people who want to transform the American economy and bring European economics and political culture to America. Even the economic system that's based on a universal welfare state, is called social democracy everywhere else, at least in the developed world and Liberals everywhere else are considered center-right everywhere else, because they're not collectivists and big believers in individual liberty, which is what liberal is actually about.
But in America, even terms like social democrat, let alone democratic socialist or just socialist, scares the hell out of American leftists., who are still stuck in the closet politically in America. So they go by liberal or progressive, even though in many cases they're neither, because their whole political philosophy is built around expanding the state in America, especially the national state.
If you were to listen to Robert Self's definition of Conservative, you would think Conservatives are just cultural and political dinosaurs, who are stuck in the 1920s, not the 1950s, who think women's place in the world is at home, gays place in the world is in prisons or mental hospitals, minorities (racial, ethnic, and religious) are not to be heard or seen, unless they're serving Caucasians, especially Anglo-Saxons and taking care of them.
So to listen to Robert Self, a Liberal is an antiestablishment, hippie/hipster, revolutionary, who wants to transform America and is against everything that America is supposed to stand for, including individual freedom for everyone.
And a Conservative is some fundamentalist redneck, who doesn't even like the idea of big, urban, centers, let alone multiculturalism. And is stuck in a cultural and political time warp, woke up from their cultural comas and discovered that it's no longer 1920 and that America is this vast, diverse, multicultural, multi ethnic and racial, liberal democracy and can't believe that women and minorities are even allowed to vote, let alone work and own businesses in this country.
As far as All in The Family, what it was about and it's effect on American culture and politics:
when that show goes on the air on CBS in January, 1971, America was divided both culturally and politically. We were going though a political and cultural revolution. But not in the way that American leftists specifically think we're.
By 1970, it was common for women not just to be voting, but to be working outside of the home, even running businesses. Gays were coming out of the closet. Minorities (ethnic and racial) were all over American culture, sports and even politics, because legally, they could no longer be discriminated against simply because of their race, ethnicity, or religion.
The Archie Bunker (played by Carrol O'Connor) character represents the backlash to the cultural and political revolution of the 1960s and early 70s.
Before the Cultural Revolution, Anglo-Saxon-Protestants, especially Anglo-Saxon men, dominated American culture and politics. And by the late 1960s, they discovered that they no longer did. Which is how I believe at least that Richard Nixon gets elected President in 1968, thanks to this blue-collar populist movement from Anglo-Saxon, but other blue-collar European ethnics in America, that all supported Richard Nixon in 1968 and 72.
Archie Bunker represents even as a fictional TV character, the backlash of the cultural revolution, coming from working class Anglo-Saxons and other working class European ethnics in America.