Norman Lear’s Patriotism: Born Again American

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Last night, through a massive crowd of people that David Brock and Media Matters for America assembled for an excellent Inaugural celebration at the Hirshhorn Museum, I thought I saw Norman Lear. And a tear came to my eye.
norman lear.jpg
I haven’t seen Norman in a number of years — but he was one of the founding funders of the New America Foundation, a think tank that I helped build and which is committed to pragmatic, solutions oriented policy work. Lear has started so many things — of course, People for the American Way as well as the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School of Communications run by my pal and fellow Huffington Post scribe Marty Kaplan. And of course, he is the iconic television producer of such shows as All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Good Times, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
His overflowing life and bio are here — but what he is mostly is a flamboyant American patriot who really loves this country — and as a liberal, a hard-headed, never give up never surrender liberal, Norman Lear has never forfeited the flag, or patriotism, or his very public love of country.
I’m not good with emotion. Once I get emotional — too often, a flood of tears come out. I tend to stay far away from the spirtual, the warm and fuzzy, anything that might tweak a real emotional nerve — particularly in public.
I’ll never forget when up at a home once owned by Robert Frost and now lovingly cared for and owned by Lear called “The Gully”, Lear allowed me to organize a retreat of a broad cross section of policy intellectuals. After the first day of proceedings, Norman had all of us hold hands around a table and to think about what we could do to restore the health and welfare of this country.
lear.jpgI was gasping for air when we did this. I didn’t like holding hands. I looked desperately around the circle at folks like James Steinberg who will soon be Deputy Secretary of State, and the home-schooled wunderkind Jedediah Purdy, and “public commons” crusader David Bollier, Sun Microsystems and futurist whistle blower Bill Joy, and budget and finance expert Maya MacGuineas — and I could tell that all of them had no problem mixing a spiritual, personal, sensitive moment with their policy deliberations. USC Lear Center Director Marty Kaplan was there and I could tell he was a pro at this emotional stuff, and loving it.
But I couldn’t do it. . .yet.
I protested a little — and I said something along the lines that our future in America required more than hand-holding….and Norman Lear looked at me, smiled, and said “Steve, I want you to come hold my hand. It starts here — we can have a tough discussion on policy, but we’re going to hold hands and think about where the Almighty might be in all of this. . .This is what our country needs and then you can think your big thoughts. . .” and yadda yadda yadda.
It was one of those moments I’ll never forget — and it made me a bit more human.
I owe Norman Lear more than just being one of the three primary funders of the organization that now employs me and houses my ambitions for improving the policy decisions in the country — but I owe him for helping me shed some of the more severe and less humanistic parts of my approach to this town and what we are all trying to achieve here.
In fact, I think that my decision to finally start this blog after two years of nudging by Josh Marshall had a lot to do with my encounters with and discussions with Norman Lear.
norman lear flag.jpgNorman Lear — fully consistent with the kind of American patriot he is — asked Keith Carradine to write a song for him called “Born Again American” to reflect a revitalization of the faith of all Americans in their country, not just those lucky enough to know Dick Cheney or to have been lifelong GOP members.
I’m still someone who is suspicious of overly emotional tributes and know that beneath the parties in Washington and the flag-waving for the ascension of a knew and very different kind of President than we have had before in Barack Obama there is screaming economy and hardship and pain at home and abroad that is always on my mind.
But one of the things I have learned from Norman Lear when jousting with John Bolton, Dick Cheney, and America’s cadre of pugnacious nationalists in the struggle to get American foreign policy back on track is that I never forfeit my patriotism and I’m never shy of embracing the American flag and reminding people what it should stand for.
Thank you Norman Lear.
And thank you to those performers from all walks of life and from all over the country who performed in the video:
Keith Carradine’s “Born Again American” — produced by Norman Lear
Keith Carradine — Los Angeles, California;
Jim Dalton — Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC;
Chad Van Rys, US Marine — Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Kevin Moore II — Venice Beach, California;
Xiao-Dan Zheng — San Francisco, California;
Matt Thompson — Chicago, Illinois;
Luke Buckett — Echo Park, Los Angeles, California;
Bobby Broom — Chicago, Illinois;
Keith Sanchez — Austin, Texas;
Erin Dzierwa — St. Louis, Missouri;
The Harlem Gospel Choir — Harlem, New York City, New York;
All Saints Episcopal — Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California;
Mu’azzin Benyoucef — Islamic Center (filmed at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota);
Cantor Patty Linsky — Temple Ahavat Shalom (filmed at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota);
David Hernandez — Red Rocks, Colorado;
Tarrah Reynolds — Brooklyn, New York;
Rev. Timothy McDonald III — New Orleans, Louisiana;
Rev. Davidson Loehr — Austin, Texas
Take some time and listen to Norman’s newly produced tribute to the nation in the time of Barack Obama and Joe Biden that will be performed tonight in Washington, DC.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Norman Lear’s Patriotism: Born Again American

  1. Evelyn says:

    I like the song but I wonder why the lyrics say “my country is of me” instead of “my country is of thee” like it is supposed to?

    Reply

  2. Shelly Wasserman says:

    The day the world changed before my eyes,
    I saw a country with its soul laid bare rise,again. And I knew then,
    I could never be the person I once was ever again.
    No longer an island unto myself.
    Never again denying the faith within myself.
    Forging a bond with my fellow man.
    I am a Born Again American.
    While from the ashes of that sad September date,
    arouse a virtual new tower;
    an eternal new home of the free and the brave; a beacon of honor;
    a monument against terror and hate.
    And its fire soon spread across the land,
    inflaming our passions as only tears and anger can.
    And we spoke with one heart, one mind, one voice:
    I am a Born Again American.

    Reply

  3. Kimberly says:

    I think for once the PEOPLE of this great nation should stop looking at each other as liberals and conservatives. “We the People” are responsible for the protection of this Great Country! It is only as great as those in it! We elect those people in Washington D.C. to represent “US” These bailouts in D.C. have been done by both Republicans and Democrats! This song was created because people were so frustrated with the 2000-2008 White House and Congress. Has anyone seen any real changes? Business as usual in D.C. they are spending the money of generations to come!!!! Stop the madness! Remember the pledge that change was coming through Nancy Pelosi? All I see is that we are deeper in debt and I’m not sure we can dig our way out of this one! I say if they are listed as an incumbant, Vote them OUT! No matter what the ( ) says behind their name!!!

    Reply

  4. Bob says:

    Being a non-Christian, but a dedicated American, I honestly have no issue with the words “My Bible and the Bill of Rights”. Yes, the ‘and’ should have been ‘is’, but as in our pledge and many other places where “God” is used, I just deal with it. That makes life much simpler.
    Maybe my 22 years in the US Military made me a much easier person to get along with. I can even hold hands with others when appropriate.

    Reply

  5. Su says:

    As I was listening to this song I had a feeling of cognitive dissonance when it came to “My Bible…..”. I thought I heard/read the “and”, but as the song moved on thought I must have misheard/read and it must have been “is”, which I loved. If “is” was the original intent and someone other than Lear or Carradine changed it, they need to understand how serious a mistake that is. Left as is (i.e., “My Bible AND…”, the very title “Born Again American” evokes the religous right which is so very NOT American and NOT the Bill of Rights.

    Reply

  6. Mary Tatro says:

    How have we and our beliefs and day to day actions created the events and circumstances we now find? What is it within us that must change in order that government (the economy, the world arena, the fear) change? Where does fear, greed, cronyism, hatred, self interest, murder, etc. reside? I am and shall be looking at that before I can expect change. I am to blame. It dosen’t take genius to see what we don’t want and blame the government and place ourselves in the roles of helpless victimized sheep dependent on something outside ourselves to change. It takes genius to create a song about the freedom to focus on and invest energy in what we DO want, and create from a place of genius within ourselves; and look to the freedom and power we have to do that. It was not emotionalism, but the experience of your power that disturbs you.

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  7. William Sraver,Jr.WWII-Seabee says:

    It is about time we start to remember how this country was founded and what it stands for.Real men can hold hands and show their respect for one-another regardless of their race,religion,station in life or financial status if they don’t have their hands in the other’s pocket or a gun at the other’s head.Countries can do the same .

    Reply

  8. Ardys Clawson says:

    How can I get a DVD of this?
    This is the greatest e-mail I’ve ever received….
    Everyone should get involved in this cause and we need to march on Washington.

    Reply

  9. Marky Kelly says:

    I want to encourage visitors to the Born-Again American website
    to do some critical thinking about it. Really take a look at the
    entire website. For instance, on the “About Us” page, there’s this
    from Keith Carradine:
    “When Norman asked me to write “Born Again American” he did
    so with the suggestion that the song address several timely and
    timeless social and political issues. He was quite specific about
    reinforcing what our founders envisioned when they wrote our
    Constitution and Bill Of Rights; (ergo ” my bible is The Bill Of
    Rights “). The secular ideals of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas
    Paine are what we need to remind ourselves of at this critical
    time in our Nation’s history.”
    So the original lyrics are “My bible IS the Bill of Rights” — but
    the website changed it to “my [B]ible AND the Bill of Rights.” Big
    difference: the “secular ideals” of Jefferson and Paine have now
    been co-opted to Christian religion in the song. That is not what
    Norman Lear and Keith Carradine worked together to achieve.
    Think about it:
    As a born-again American, if my bible is the Bill of Rights, and
    my creed is equality, then I’m leaving religion out of the political
    picture. I’m keeping my religion as my own private expression,
    where it belongs — out of the political arena.
    As a member of the Interfaith Alliance
    [www.interfaithalliance.org], I espouse the greatness of America
    based on the separation of church and state. And I’m deeply
    curious to know the thoughts and feelings of those who allowed
    this small but important word change to occur. I believe there
    are many Jews, Muslims, and non-believers who will not listen
    to the entirety of this video, and who will miss the important
    message of renewed activism and the true patriotism of dissent. They won’t listen far enough into it to see the Jewish cantor
    singing alongside the Muslim (who I’m willing to bet were not
    given a copy of the lyrics which read “my Bible and the Bill of
    Rights”). And that is a shame.

    Reply

  10. Bruce Comeau says:

    We as a people have forgotten an entire generation of Americans.
    These are the overlooked and inconvenient offspring deemed to be
    undesirable and not equal to the rest of America. This inequality
    has lead to discrimination beyond the slavery of blacks. The
    oppression the have and are still feeling to this day is intolerable.
    You feel good and sing about your born again Americans, yet fifty
    million Americans were never even given the chance to be born the
    first time. You are hypocrites! Pretending to care when it suits your
    political slant and appeases your seared conscience. Born again? In
    a pigs eye! The nazis would have approved of how the unborn are
    treated in Amerika! We are reaping the seeds we have been sowing
    since 1973. I am a born again American. Praying for you and the
    unborn to be freed from this disaster.

    Reply

  11. sumi adachi says:

    Dear Steve:
    What a fine piece of writing this is! Now I know how your blog had
    started, where its uniqueness come from, and why my days begin
    with going to your blog these days. You make the public policy
    intimate, emotionally engaged and relevant to people like me who
    is not politically inclined. Thank you for your work.

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    A Sandburg sober/somber mood piece– not quite my mood, though. I’m a “giddy thing” (from Shakespeare’s Much Ado where tragedy and comedy, sorrow and joy, friendship and betrayal all meet). One goes through the worst and manages to defer the reckoning for a day of celebration. Just as John the Bastard will get his due after the weddings (Much Ado), so, perhaps, will George the Bastard get his. (And Dick the Bastard, and the rest.)
    Anyway, here’s Sandburg:
    PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
    Shovel them under and let me work–
    I am the grass; I cover all.
    And pile them high at Gettysburg
    And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
    Shovel them under and let me work.
    Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
    What place is this?
    Where are we now?
    I am the grass.
    Let me work.
    Notes
    1] Austerlitz: a village, now named Slavkov, where on Dec. 2, 1805, Napoleon led an outnumbered French army to victory over Austrian and Russian forces.
    Waterloo: Napoleon’s final defeat, near this town in Belgium on June 18, 1815, by a European coalition including Austria, Great Britain, Prussia and Russia.
    4] Gettysberg: a decisive victory by the Union army in the American civil war was won near this Pennsylvania town July 1-3, 1863.
    5] Ypres: a town in Belgium at which three battles were fought in World War I (1914, 1915, and 1917) resulting in over 600,000 casualties and stalemate.
    Verdun: during most of 1916 the Allied and German armies fought over this French town and castle, the battles ending indecisively with nearly 700,000 casualties.
    https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/html/1807/4350/poem1793.html

    Reply

  13. rich says:

    TonyForesta @ 1:57AM –
    Irony. A little tease.
    Not only is my pop a cardigan-wearing liberal, but I’m that and more: I favor those builky hand-woven Ecuadorian sweaters every time it turns cold (-20 F back home).
    Lear re-appropriated “the American Way” for liberals when Newt and Ronnie tried to turn it into a dirty word. He’s a hero. And that’s why Kervick can’t walk away from what this country means. It’s that or be chased from the town square along with every defining American trait, pelted with cabbages and derision. Me, I’ll take Pete Seeger singing at the next inauguration instead of hauled away in chains.
    Liberals have nothing to be ashamed of, Tony. In fact, observe the ridicule that pragmatic, effective policy is getting, even now, from alleged journalists rushing to knock still-solvent Social Security or wand rewrite the history of the New Deal. $2 trillion bucks down the rathole and they’re still afraid of policies that work. Hmm.
    Tony, don’t you think it’d be more productive to track the lie that Obama’s inauguration was the most expensive? Instead of policing us? Or expose the canard that Social Security is beset by structural deficits. Isn’t the entitlement of $700 billion to deregulated investment banking fraudsters a better use of your time. Or at least find out who the DC Madame and Dusty Foggo had on a leash instead of going all the way back to 1989. That’s so, like, history.

    Reply

  14. rich says:

    Kervick! You don’t like folk music? Hey, love your country, love country music.
    I get your mood. Gaza’s burning but mum’s the word. Rome’s aflame but pomp and circumstance totters onward. All we’re missing is a tad more syphilitic Nero, one whose hobby was fiddle-playin’ instead of studiously missing the point. I know it’s disappointing, but George W. will have to do. You’ll have to settle for Tom Friedman advocating war crimes in a fact-free column on the op-ed pages of the New York Times. Everybody needs cheerleaders. Right?
    Excellent e.e. cummings choice; I’ve hauled that one out a few times in the last eight years. Check out “i thank thee god for most this amazing day’.
    Still worth throwing off the sackcloth and ashes. History just doesn’t come full circle quite like this very often. Think: Pete Seeger just got to sing “This Land is Your Land”–uncensored–at a Przntl inauguration. Which Common Man did you have fixed so firmly in mind—few cheered after a certain point; all were human. Also, I didn’t hear anybody carping about Samuel Jackson wearing a black beret, either, but then, I wasn’t watching FOX, either.
    Too many never thought they’d see the day. Some were convinced they’d never have to admit the moment. Worth celebrating.
    Kervick, never cede the flag or country to those who so eagerly and smugly stoked the fascist excuses that’ve nearly eaten this country alive. Don’t condemn us to endless iterations of Brit Hume and Tucker Carlson (sorry Steve) dourly denying Possibility and Progress.
    So sing of olaf glad and big.
    and whenever anybody tells you Obama is unelectable, we’ll never get our country back, or America is unredeemable . . . remember this:
    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes
    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)
    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any–lifted from the no
    of allnothing–human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?
    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    Reply

  15. JohnH says:

    I happened to be in Nicaragua shortly after Daniel Ortega took office. I asked people about how they felt about Ortega. I was somewhat taken aback when the comments were pretty uniformly, “We know the old Danial Ortega (from the 1980’s). We do not know the new Daniel Ortega.” And, “if he steals only half of the public treasure–not all of it, he will have been a good President.”
    Such wariness indicates a healthy scepticism about new, unproven leaders. Nicaraguans seem more firmly grounded in their reality than their Norte American brethern.
    Also, after an inauguration like this, where can Obama image’s possibly go? Can it ever reach these heights again?
    We are not doing Obama any favors by over-inflating the bubble of irrational exuberance for the man.
    Having said this, wild celebration about Bush’s departure is entirely appropriate. But that is not how this orgy is being framed.

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    Bill R–Some of us have lived long enough to realize the folly of investing all one’s hopes and dreams in the person of a single man. Sadly, this inauguration is basically an orgy celebrating the ascendance of a single man, gifted though he may be. It is behavior that is better suited to a monarchy or an empire and bodes ill for democracy.
    I would much prefer the presidential succession to proceed as the change of leadership at WalMart or GE. The new leader takes the helm quietly, in the knowledge that he has succeeded in his past assignments, but with full awareness that he may have just been promoted beyond the level of his competence.
    The time for celebration occurs once the new leader delivers tangible, positive results and shows that we placed our trust in him for good reason.

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what my problem is Bill R. I was feeling all upbeat and chipper until the Israelis massacred 1000 Gazans, with the unanimous support of the US Senate. I guess I’m just a Gloomy Gus.

    Reply

  18. Bill R. says:

    Looking at some of these comments I have to think the blogosphere is the refuge of the perpetually dismal, those who worship as my Roman Catholic dad once said, at the “church of our Lady of Perpetual Resentment.”
    Alienation seems to be such a familiar and comfortable cloak to put on for some folks.

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    “I don’t want any more fanfare for the Common Man. The Common Man just spent several years cheering on the murder of millions of other common men.”
    This is the most memorable quote posted here in ages.

    Reply

  20. Bill R. says:

    A thoughtful post, Steve. Thanks for taking ownership of your humanity in its fullness. And I love the song, shmaltzy as it may be. It speaks the language of the American people, and appeals to the common grain of love of country and a desire for justice and well-being for our country. Norman Lear is a liberal who understands this. When we gather to inaugurate a leader it is appropriate for us to wave flags and celebrate our country and the high hopes we all carry for this leader and a new day for the American people.

    Reply

  21. TonyForesta says:

    Slime liberal to your cold black hearts content rich, but until you defend, apologize for, excuse, or explain this http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2003/02/06/15709461.php perverted scandal all you have to offer is wingnut slime and babel.
    Holding hands is one thing, Rich Gannon and other homosexuals paraded throught the WH finder operations for whoknowswhat perverted reason – is something entirely different.
    Freak.

    Reply

  22. serge says:

    We all owe Norman Lear. Hope springs eternal.

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    OK, while reiterating my respect and admiration for Norman Lear, I have to say that silly song did nothing for me.
    It appears that I can’t get into the prescribed spirit of this inauguration. Maybe I’ve just been too brutalized by the Bush administration. Or maybe I’m just too old, cold, and misanthropic, and the Bush administration only provided the the last necessary puff of dry wind to blow away the mental sand paintings comprising my few remaining illusions, but I am simply not moved at the moment by patriotic schmaltz, waving flags, Lincoln Memorial festivities, whistle stop tours, multi-ethnic choirs and soaring rhetoric. This country doesn’t need a party; it needs a funeral.
    And it doesn’t need more myth-making and legend-spinning. It needs to have its stupid, drunken, violence-loving head dunked in a tub of ice water, and held under until it wakes up from the manufactured reality and tawdry dreamwork of patriotism and crusading aggression.
    I don’t want any more fanfare for the Common Man. The Common Man just spent several years cheering on the murder of millions of other common men. Screw the Common Man. And Gaza has further hardened my heart against states and empires, and their extravagantly destructive and ingeniously sadistic machines for the destruction of human beings.
    I’m not looking for a government to restore the “American Dream”, or to try to make us into a “Shining City on a Hill”. I only hope for a government that is slightly more competent, and slightly less murderous. I hope our DC chiefs manage to get through the next four or eight years without exterminating large proportions of the human race. This could be a tall order since Washington appears to attract fanatics.
    I admit my attitudes are conflicted and somewhat incoherent. For while hoping to get a better government in Washington, I remain deeply suspicious of anyone who would actually want to go to work for that organized gang of murderers.
    There is one American poem that keeps rattling around in my head lately. It points in the opposite direction from the ritualistic songs and utterances of the nationalistic cult that exalts itself during public ceremonies like inaugurations. It’s by e. e. cummings:
    i sing of Olaf glad and big
    whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
    a conscientious object-or
    his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
    westpointer most succinctly bred)
    took erring Olaf soon in hand;
    but–though an host of overjoyed
    noncoms(first knocking on the head
    him)do through icy waters roll
    that helplessness which others stroke
    with brushes recently employed
    anent this muddy toiletbowl,
    while kindred intellects evoke
    allegiance per blunt instruments–
    Olaf(being to all intents
    a corpse and wanting any rag
    upon what God unto him gave)
    responds,without getting annoyed
    “I will not kiss your fucking flag”
    straightway the silver bird looked grave
    (departing hurriedly to shave)
    but–though all kinds of officers
    (a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
    their passive prey did kick and curse
    until for wear their clarion
    voices and boots were much the worse,
    and egged the firstclassprivates on
    his rectum wickedly to tease
    by means of skilfully applied
    bayonets roasted hot with heat–
    Olaf(upon what were once knees)
    does almost ceaselessly repeat
    “there is some shit I will not eat”
    our president,being of which
    assertions duly notified
    threw the yellowsonofabitch
    into a dungeon,where he died
    Christ(of His mercy infinite)
    i pray to see;and Olaf,too
    preponderatingly because
    unless statistics lie he was
    more brave than me:more blond than you.
    I’m no patriot. Every time I see a waving flag these days, I just want to say, with Olaf, “I will not kiss your fucking flag.”

    Reply

  24. carsick says:

    Steve,
    I come here almost everyday and I’ve never read a post from you like this. You’re not, as someone said above, an amazing human being but you have the capacity to be one. It seems Norman Lear helped show you that. We can all use more of that because we all have that capacity. Striving, always striving. I hope I give that nudge to others and hope to keep getting that nudge as well.
    A beautiful tribute.

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    I hate to be the curmudgeon and rain on the parade, but all this pomp and circumstance is really starting to make me queasy. Shouldn’t we really leave celebrations like this to the Brits, our former colonial masters?

    Reply

  26. Obie says:

    While I respect the idea, the name could use some work. “Born again” has a clear stigma. As a Jew, it seems akin to the oxymoron of “Jewish crusade”. I have no interest in being “born again”, at least not given its current ideology. If we are indeed beginning a new era of mutual respect and tolerance, perhaps we should start here.

    Reply

  27. rich says:

    Liberals! They can get even grown men to hold hands.
    .
    .
    Was it the cardigan or the kumbayah?

    Reply

  28. Rebecca says:

    Steve, you are an amazing human being who knows when to share
    an emotionally important insight and when to be as tough as nails
    in forcing your peers to take foreign policy seriously. Thanks for
    showing us the former today. I love Norman Lear’s work and his
    legacy of reminding Americans about America. Thank you — and I
    now have a tear in the corner of my eye too.

    Reply

  29. TonyForesta says:

    Thanks Steve for a very human and touching post. Lears many great artistic accomplishments all seem to speak to and about poor and middle class Americans and he succeeded where many have failed to give at least artisic voice to the voiceless.
    Like many progressives or liberals Lear “…is mostly is a flamboyant American patriot who really loves this country — and as a liberal, a hard-headed, never give up never surrender liberal, Norman Lear has never forfeited the flag, or patriotism, or his very public love of country.” Nor have democrats, liberals or progressive.
    Of all the treachery, treasons, crimes, deceptions and horrors wrought by the bushgov, – there was nothing more offensive and infuriating than besmearching or sliming democrats or liberals or progressive’s and by proxy my, patriotism and love and respect for American. I will never forget and never forgive wingnuts for this pernicious act of cowardice.
    But the holding hands moment you candidly describe tempers my fury if only temporarily and only a little. We, and particularly (I) must find, and keep our (my) humanity while engaged in these terrible ugly struggles and we (I) burden and hazard the many epic crisis most of us, and certainly (I) will and must face.
    A thousand thanks.

    Reply

  30. WigWag says:

    Kervick, you’re a meat head!
    Just kidding!
    Norman Lear is a great American; a true inspiration. In many ways he reminds me of the great progressive celebrity we recently lost, Paul Newman.
    People for the American Way was the first truly progressive advocacy organization created to fight Reaganism. When few others had the courage to speak out, People for the American Way had the courage to fight the Religious Right, especially the “Moral Majority” and “Focus on the Family.”
    Everyone who cares about religious tolerance, pluralism and justice owes a debt of gratitude to Norman Lear.

    Reply

  31. Dan Kervick says:

    *All in the Family* was the greatest show in American television history, filled with love and understanding and courage – intellectual, emotional and political courage.
    Television offers something that film does not, for those creative artists that are willing to take advantage of the potential of the medium: the ability to build up hundreds of hours of characterization allowing for a complex layering of personality that is generally beyond the reach of the filmmaker. The viewer and the character enter into a more intimate relationship.
    It saddens me how far backward we’ve drifted backward since Lear’s television heyday. Lear was weekly broaching uncomfortable topics on All in the Family and his other shows that Americans soon stopped discussing. Decades after Lear was dealing with interracial relationships on the television screen, Denzel Washington is still not allowed to get the white girl on the movie screen.

    Reply

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