ARCHIE BUNKER AND GEORGE WALLACE | 2001-06-30
"All In the Family" premiered in 1971, right in the middle of the George Wallace phenomenon.
The reason that Lear was so upset with working class white people in 1971 was because liberals had completely tamed the Republican Party, but they were terrified of Governor George Wallace of Alabama. Wallace got ten million votes for president in the 1968 election, and he very nearly took the Democratic nomination for president in 1972.
The year after "All In the Family" premiered in 1971, Wallace won the MICHIGAN Democratic presidential primary with a solid majority. He was far ahead, and leading in the Maryland primary. If he had not been shot, there would have been no left wing McGovern candidacy in 1972.
Republicans were happy in 1971 because the military was enormous and Nixon was defending the interests of business, and those are the only two things Republicans really care about. Working people's kids were being bused and ethnic neighborhoods were being broken up, but that didn't matter any more to Republicans than it did to Norman Lear.
The only people who were upset at liberal policy were Southerners and Northern ethnics. Lear had always hated white Southerners, but a Northern white person who deserted the liberal Democrats was even more Evil in media eyes. The Archie Bunkers had been obedient little leftists under union supervision, but now that the unions were betraying them, they were leaving the Democrats and going to Wallace.
And their names were not like "Archie Bunker."
I met hundreds of them, and they were Sullivans and Kowalskis and everything else that was white but not Anglo-Saxon. They actually represented diversity. Lear had to rewrite that, so he had Archie hating Poles and Italians and all the other groups he actually represented. No liberal can ever allow reality to intrude too much.
For example, Archie as always hating "pollacks."
A man represented as a Polish-American leader was talking to him and spoke of "We Polish people."
In 1968, I lived in a campaign headquarters in the Polish steelworker section of Chicago. Almost everybody voted for Wallace. Not once in all those months did I hear a single person there refer to himself as a "Polish person." They were Pollacks and proud of it.
No, they did not tremble at the idea that someone was calling them "Micks" or "Wops" or "Pollacks." What they were afraid of were things like this
1) that soon there would be hardened minority quotas in hiring that would exclude white working people from jobs,
2) that, as a matter of public policy, the government would enforce the breakup of white ethnic communities,
3) that busing white working people's children into ghettoes would become routine nationwide and no one would seriously object but the parents.
4) they knew a lot more was coming, but they couldn't have guessed, as one example, that anyone who objected to giving welfare benefits to known illegal aliens would be portrayed as anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews by the media in the future.
In fact, the only people who really saw the future in 1971 were those who were fans of Archie Bunker.