BY BOB BEARDEN
The remake, reboot, retooling of Roseanne is no more. I didn’t watch it because I have never really cared that much for Roseanne’s brand of humor and I enjoy watching reruns of All In The Family, Law and Order and NCIS much more than Roseanne. I always liked groundbreaking shows like Taxi and Barney Miller because they dealt with social issues in a way that you enjoyed them tweaking social mores and taking on important issues of the day. Roseanne, for me, didn’t remind me of my childhood as it apparently did of a lot of other people.
And the fact that I realized early on she was racist and bigoted tended to turn me off. I did like John Goodman, and Roseanne was a working-class sitcom to some extent. But just wasn’t my cup of tea. And now the remake how been crushed by the weight of her own foul mouth.
The real sadness in all of this is the fact that her racist tweet caused the loss of a lot of jobs related to the show. The cast will move on to other things and I’m sure Roseanne will become the darling of the right-wing nuts jobs tweeting about how she got screwed. Yeah, she did upon her own petard.
But Valerie Jarrett, the target of the racial slur [not a bad joke as Roseanne tried to paint it], stated that this should be a teachable moment. And it should be. You would think after all these years that racism and bigotry should be old news but with the election of a racist, bigoted man [and I use that term rather loosely] to the Oval Office, it has suddenly climbed out from under the rock it had been swept under and reared its ugly head again. Proving that it has been lying around under the surface all these years just waiting to resurface.
Hate, bigotry and racism have no place in our society. And yet, there they are still and the wounds that had scabbed over have been reopened and people like Trump and Roseanne are pouring salt on them.
We can’t get past our past because we won’t address the reality of how we as a nation and people were formed and have become what we are.
Yes, we have a great nation, but we can’t address what has happened in our past. We would rather sweep those things under the rug and pretend that they weren’t as bad as we know them to be. We weren’t formed as a more perfect nation. No, we were formed with warts and blemishes, and we don’t want to talk about those things that were wrong and terrible in our past.
We are not going ever get past those things until we have a cleansing of our conscience and confront our past and acknowledge that many things we as a people and as a nation did were patently wrong.
We as a people stood by while an entire way of life was virtually destroyed in the name of Manifest Destiny. We are responsible for the deaths of literally millions of Native Americans for no other reason than we wanted the land they lived on. And what we did in taking their way of life and their land from them was not something we should ever be proud of. But it is something that we have to learn to live with.
We have to acknowledge that this nation was built on the backs of slaves who came to this country unwillingly packed like sardines in a can under horrendous conditions from which many thousands and more died from. We have to acknowledge that the very foundation of our nation’s government and its revered buildings that house our government were built with slave labor.
We have to confront our past before we can build a sustainable future. It is morally imperative that we do. We have to get past making excuses for people like Trump and Roseanne and those bigots at Charlottesville, VA, who aren’t good people and will never be good people any more than Hitler and the Nazis were good people.
Good people are kind, caring, compassionate and promote love over hate. We can have our disagreements and we can dislike things and even people, but we when hate we do disservice to ourselves and our nation. When we embrace bigotry and racism and try to make excuses for those two heinous things, we are doing ourselves and our nation a disservice.
It has to stop, and we have to have enough guts to stand up and say it stops with me. We need to take a lesson from the Parkland kids and those who have stood up with them across this nation and say, as they have, #ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
– Bob Bearden is a trustee of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC in Oklahoma City