"Boy the way Glen Miller played,
Songs that made the Hit Parade,
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days,
And you know where you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again,
Didn't need no welfare states
Everybody pulled his weight,
Gee our old Lasalle ran great,
Those were the days!"

As I was watching the discussions in the Garden the other day, I suddenly felt like I was sitting in a house on 704 Houser Street watching an exchange of words between Archie Bunker and Meathead.

Archie was a staunch Republican with closed-minded ideals of the world while Mike Stivic a.k.a. Meathead was a Liberal with anti-religious beliefs and the epitome of Political Correctness. The both of the together in one household led for some very interesting if not challenging debates.

As the discussion swayed from talk of the DC Sniper to gun control, I could not help but remember a similar debate on one episode between Archie & Meathead. Archie, of course, believed in the Constitutional right to bear arms while Meathead believed that guns kill people and was an advocate of strict gun laws.

Meathead: "Do you realize guns are the cause of over 60 percents of deaths  in America?”

Archie: “Would it make you feel better if they were all pushed out of windows?”

Then we have Archie’s solution to stop hijackings by having the airlines giving all the passengers a gun before they board the plane. However, Meathead gets his satisfaction on the gun control issue when the family is robbed by Archie’s own gun.

The TV show covered many areas of controversial subjects ranging from politics, religion, racism, sexism, drug legalization, police brutality, homosexuality, war, peace, corporate monopolies, euthanasia, the environment …  the same issues we are still dealing with today.


Archie and Meathead had the Vietnam War era while we see the Iraq War era. Draft dodging was the hot issue then while protestors today try to avert a war before the same situation begins.

Archie, being a veteran of “Dubya-Dubya-Two”, held no tolerance to the draft dodgers running away from their duty to protect the freedoms of America while Meathead held the view that too many were dying in a war that was not our own. 

There is the episode where at a Christmas dinner at the Bunker household, the guest of honor was the father of a son killed in Vietnam and Meathead invites a draft dodger to the same dinner. Archie is livid that a draft dodger would even sit at the same table with the father of a son who gave his life for his country when the father calmly stops the arguments by saying he'd have been a lot happier if his own son had dodged the draft, and lived to share Christmas dinner with him.

Just like today, there are those that are willing to give their lives for their country and those that oppose war as a solution, regardless if in the name of Communism or Terrorism. There are no rights or wrongs in this issue because neither side is right or wrong.

Religion is always a heated topic, and with Archie and Meathead, we have the Atheist, and the Protestant and Edith tossed in to round out the Truly Faithful.

Archie was a once a year churchgoer with his reasoning of “ How is God going to hear me with all you ‘meatheads’ talking to Him at the same time I am.” 

Meathead, being an atheist, once asked Archie to explain why, if there is a God, there is so much suffering in the world. Archie tells Meathead that he will tell him why and calls for Edith to answer the question. When there is no response from Edith, Archie yells again for her to get in the room and help him because is he has to defend God all by himself.  There just aren’t answers to everything no matter how long you debate the subject. Meathead ironically makes the comment, “Thank God I am an Atheist.” Pretty much tells it all.

Along the lines of Repartitions for Blacks that leaves many ideals wide open as to a justifiable solution, I cant help but remember when Sammy Davis Jr. was a guest on one episode:

Archie: “Now, no prejudice intended, but I always check with the Bible on these things. I think that, I mean if God had meant us to be together he'd a put us together. But look what he done. He put you over in Africa, and put the rest of us in all the white countries.”

Sammy Davis Jr.: “Well, he must've told 'em where we were because somebody came and got us.”

  I guess you get as good as you give.

Archie did have strong ideas as to why this country was going downhill;

"In my day, nobody called themselves Irish-Americans, African-Americans or Italian-Americans. We was all AMERICANS - and if a guy was a spic or a wop, it was his business."

But he remained optimistic;

"We came up off the mat before when the going was tough and I know as long as we stick together, this nation under God shall not diminish from this earth."

There are many Archie Bunkers in this world just as there are many Meatheads. The combination of the two kinds is what enlightens us all to how we perceive issues of the times. Regardless if one is Far Right or Far Left, there is a common ground. A matter of the open-mindedness we use as observers or participants is what separates us.

I see the Garden as sitting around the living room of 704 Houser Street with Archie, Edith, Gloria, Mike and the endless list of family and neighbors that stop in with another twist on an issue that reopens a new train of thought.

Everyone has opinions and beliefs and it is the right of each person to express them as they see fit. We may or may not agree with every one but as long as we listen to what others have to say and have our chance to respond as to why we may or may not agree, we will remain a fair and free society.

It is when we are told to “stifle” that aggression begins.

Thank goodness Archie was not stifled.

Click Here For "Deep Thoughts" by Archie Bunker

Back To The Center