Did Andy Griffith Die Because America Died?
It may seem like an odd thought, but that was my first thought when I heard the news last night. I imagine the teens in the audience responded by saying “Andy who?” The rest of us felt a bit of loss. Oh, his shows will run on both obscure and family oriented channels until the film becomes too brittle to process, but, it felt like we lost our last living link to that Norman Rockwell time and place.
Yes, the twenty somethings have actually heard of Norman Rockwell thanks to the Antiques Roadshow or some auction site. Collectors buy his stuff, so it is viewed as an investment by them. The rest of us remember the time and place his work endeavored to make us see. A time when America actually stood for something. A time when a working man could not only get a job, he was proud to be defined by what he did. A time when both parents and teachers could paddle misbehaving children. Not only did nobody frown on it, we didn’t have large scale bullying at school because if a teacher saw it you were guaranteed an ass cracking.
It didn’t matter if he was chatting with Opie (who later became the Ron Howard the younger crowd knows), selling us a Ritz cracker, or being a lawyer. Andy could take you back to that time. His voice, his cadence, the beliefs he seemed to expound, they pulled you in and took you home. The home you had when America stood for something.
Today we have MBAs and Mitt Romney trying to off-shore every job but their own. America’s elite are engaged in a race to the bottom, striving to sell the cheapest damned knock off you can find on a Wal-Mart shelf. Quality means nothing and loyalty to ones workers long since passed on. When a man or recent grad wakes up now, most of them do so not having a job and not being able to find one. We no longer have a culture which allows someone to graduate High School to take a job at one of the local factories. Those factories are all overseas now. We no longer buy a pair of blue jeans in our twenties and still have them in our thirties. Today’s blue jeans are lucky to survive two dozen washes. The list goes on and on.
We’ll miss you Andy, but the truth is, we didn’t deserve you anymore.