Liberal TV producer Norman Lear created one of TV’s greatest icons in the 1970’s. He wanted to create a character to represent America’s ignorance and intolerance, someone clinging to a past false narrative of American greatness, refusing to accept the liberal changes occurring all around him.
With his hit show All in the Family Lear created Archie Bunker — masterfully portrayed by Carroll O’Connor — a good but simple and uneducated man whose prejudice was his pride. Archie embodied the sentiment, “America, love it or leave it.”
If All in the Family were rebooted today, Archie would be a progressive. Love it or leave it.
I live in Boulder, the progressive town that buys billboard space to advertise its tolerance, acceptance and diversity.
I remember being in the checkout line at my neighborhood King Soopers. The gentleman next to me stared and said, “Aren’t you that Caldara guy?” I smiled, put out my hand, “Hi, I’m Jon Caldara.” His response, “Why don’t you just (expletive) leave.” To which I could only reply, “and miss all the tolerance and acceptance Boulder has to offer?”
Variations of this love-it-or-leave-it sentiment have echoed in Boulder for years, but it is ramping up statewide as Colorado’s body politic is swinging hard Boulder-left. My recent column on why I cannot comply with Boulder’s hateful gun ban and how my daughter is being bullied at school over the issue harvested the expected Archie Bunker letters to the editor and online comments:
- “Jon Caldara makes a good living whining about Boulder liberals, but chose to live in Boulder rather than any other city in Colorado. … He has two choices, move from Boulder … or stay and whine.”
- “I invite him to leave — go far away and find your own selfish utopia and leave the rest of us the hell alone.”
- “It is your fault your kids aren’t happy in school by proudly admitting to the world you are going to break the law.”
A theme of Jared Polis’ Inaugural Ball was, “Colorado, from hate state to great state.” The reference being that this unenlightened state that voted for the anti-gay Amendment 2 back in 1992 has now evolved into greatness by electing the nation’s first openly gay governor.
But has the bigotry vanished, or did it just change targets? Has the definition of “alternative lifestyle” morphed from a man wearing a dress to a woman carrying a gun?
For those curious to see what the Boulder-ization of Colorado will look like, look no further than last week’s swearing-in ceremony of Gov. Polis. In front of the Orwellian backdrop of “Colorado for All” banners an orgy of self-righteous diversity signaling was on parade. From prayers by the head priest of the Sikh Temple to blessings from the Ute Mountain Tribe, identity politics and victim celebration was at its best.
In the opening prayer, which was almost entirely a tirade over Trump’s immigration policies, Rev. Dr. James Peters Jr. said, “Jared Polis stands today as one who has suffered as a victim of racism and bigotry because of who he is.”
Jared Polis? Born to a privileged family, Princeton grad, the richest Democrat in congress, he has suffered as a victim? Give me some of that victimhood.
But the us-versus-them politics of separation at this haughty ceremony was best articulated by the recitation from poet Anne Waldman, founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa University in, where else, Boulder.
Her Alan Ginsberg-esque poem declared Polis’s victory as the “Antidote to dystopian reality.”
Her best applause line asserted Polis as being: “Antidote to psychotic dystopian governance, to unethical, unlawful, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, sexist, elitist, disaster governance.”
Some 45 percent of Coloradans voted for Trump, and voted for Walker Stapleton. Yet at this celebration of inclusion, under the “Colorado for All” banners, that was how Colorado’s new progressive Archie Bunkers described Colorado’s political minority.
She continued, “Humanity on the brink with crisis, with syndicates of greed…Floods. Earthquakes. Fires. Famine. War roiling destruction. Cruelty. Poverty. Migration crisis. Education crisis. We are called to respond.” Fortunately, team diversity came to the rescue, “Welcome to the poetry of accountable governance.”
Yet progressives still trumpet their tolerance. Waldman celebrated their new “Citadel of tolerance. Openness. Intellect and vision … A world worth living in.”
And I thought Colorado was worth living in before. My ignorance.
The original Archie Bunker was more heroic. He owned his intolerance.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.