Archie Bunker vs Mr. Rogers

Mueller’s ambiguous findings about obstruction offered one big aha! If you aren’t hiding your flirtations with legality, are they prosecutable offenses? Remember that Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in NYC and get away with it?

Maybe, I now realize, there’s method behind his bullying, blustering, tweeting madness, behind his hyperbole and bald faced lies. First, 10% of what he says may be his true intentions. We don’t know which 10% but whatever comes he can say, “I told you so. I didn’t lie.” Second, he may just be saying what others think but are too scared/polite to say. His base loves him because he says what they think, but many smart, sophisticated, articulate, well-dressed, inside the beltway types may also think as he does though they would never admit it. He may speak for far more of us that we imagine. He is our Id.

Let’s say Trump is a liar and a cheat, but an honest liar and cheat, a full-frontal, bald-faced one who means what he says – at least 10% of the time. 

In this way he’s like Archie Bunker, unconflicted in his points of view. People might hate his ideas but still love him for being just who he is and saying what’s on his mind.

Here’s another politician and potential Democratic Party candidate who says just what he thinks – the deal is, he actually thinks! It’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg. How is he honest, let me count the ways.

  • He’s gay and happily married. He and his husband had a church wedding and go to church on Sunday. He makes gay marriage look normal. You look at his husband and think, “Why not a first Man?”
  • Trevor Noah profiled him… and found not one scrap of dirt to apply his comedy to. None.
  • Buttigieg talks a progressive line in such a midwest way you begin to think it’s very very reasonable and here’s how we are going to do it.
  • He doesn’t hide his distaste for his State’s former Governor, Mike Pence, but says while they are both Christians, Pete’s faith instructs him to care for the poor and marginalized and Mike’s seems to be about … well, sex… and how does that square with his loyalty to our porn star President? Boom. Sweet guy in shirt sleeves, no bluster, no eye rolling indignation, no ostentation about scoring points, just asking a question.
  • He talks about the moral left and suddenly you think, “Heck yes, we’re moral too, how did we let the right capture that flag?
  • Oh, and he served in the military.
  • He speaks and reads 8 languages, which Trevor pointed out are 8 more than our current President. 

He looks enough like Alfred E Newman that you know that some cartoonists will mix that in their mincemeat should he rise in the ranks.

But he also looks, sounds, acts like Mr. Rogers. Calm. Certain about his values. Defender of the people without being mean to the meanies. Understanding of how our feelings get hurt but with some good advice on how to respond  fairly – like passing a Medicare for All bill and moving towards some version of a Basic Income. 

So there you have it. Two truth tellers. One Archie Bunker. One Mr. Rogers. Neither of them hiding anything that isn’t in plain sight. 

I kinda sorta want to put an old button up cardigan on Mayor Pete and send him on stage with Archie so the nation can see we have a real choice for how it will be a beautiful day in the neighborhood… again. 

Make America Nice (or Next to Normal) Again. MANA. Heavenly. 

Disclaimer: this is a thought experiment, a way of seeing, not a boxing manager’s way to get his guy in the ring. 





  1. Thanks for writing about Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s campaigning for President. I haven’t read about him yet. What you present is intriguing; he sounds like someone I can support. Time to go read up on him and his campaign myself.

    Betty Prioux
  2. Thanks for this. Just remembering that we had real-life Archie Bunkers at one time makes the current rabid right seem less like a new aberration, and more like the long tail of an old lizard. Here’s to more Mr. Rogerses of all stripes stepping forward.

    1. What an interesting perspective. First of all, I don’t consider myself a celebrity. I am a thinker and writer and sustainability activist, and if that has brought me some fame, it’s a byproduct. People DO care about the views of public figures they trust. Granted, I am no more of an expert on politics than most bloggers, podcasters, TV personalities – but I have thought a lot about policies that can drive change. The healthy side of the Trump presidency is that more people who were not interested in politics are passionately engaged in learning and activism – and I am one of them, bringing all my years of experience and disciplines to the task of finding our way. That’s citizenship. So I’m asking, what irks you about this post so much that you’d write this comment?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *