From this webpage:
“That was Archie. All his preconceptions keeping him from enjoying life. That was my message. Because Archie never enjoyed anything. Something was poisoning life for him. He didn’t realize that [it] was from inside of himself.”
One of the remarkable things for an actor to do is to play a part that is against who their real character is. For liberal catholic Carroll O’Connor, playing Archie Bunker was something he didn’t enjoy and often found uncomfortable.
As a child, I watched this show and couldn’t believe what I was watching. There were people being real and honest, even at times when it was ugly. Rather than avoiding the subjects in life, they were taking them head-on. I admired the courage of this show and consider it one of the best TV shows ever.
I can’t help but think that Carroll O’Connor would have found the recent election uncomfortable. Not because he was liberal. Rather that the same things that he said, were being said in this election. Archie often said that America used to be great. He said a great many things that we have heard in this election. Rather than have real arguments, his fear compelled him to act in the ways that he did.
In this way, people who are hateful and hate others really limit the happiness and joy they have in life. People punish themselves by their own harsh values and behavior, and you have to look upon them with a sense of sadness or compassion. Growing up I was sad that Archie was such a small-minded little person. I never understood how someone could be older than he was and be so ignorant.
I am not saying that I am a saint, but that as a child I understood this is not the kind of person that anyone would want to be. Rather than see people for who they are, he always tried to label them and make them safe. When he had to deal with people as individuals he would often fail, and he would often find that his ideas did not help his reality.
I hope that as people mature, they find themselves less like Archie and more like the great man Carroll O’Connor.