Sept. 3, 2020

Don't rock the boat (feat. Archie Bunker)

Don't rock the boat (feat. Archie Bunker)

What do All in the Family, the Brady Bunch and our all too apparent political divisions have in common? Join us as we cast (real) political commentary aside (we were no good at that anyway) and resurrect the sitcoms and TV dramas of the 70s in a musically fuelled episode for the current political climate. Grab your lifejacket and climb aboard!


Cindy Sealls: 0:01As a 1970s TV addict, I was trying to figure out what the two different conventions would have been. And to me, the Democratic convention would be like a family sitcom, like My Three Sons or The Brady Bunch. So you have this nice little family, but then there's some kind of conflict, you know, a cat is up the tree or Bobby's getting bullied, you know? And so there's this conflict, Oh , what's going to happen to the bad guy. We go tta g et hi m. And then, you know, dad comes in or mom comes in and they all solve the problem. And we live happily ever after. And then the Republican convention was like Kojak o r Hill Street Blues. You know, it's like, it's bad. Bad stuff's going on out there. We need Ko jak w ith his lollipop to come and save everybody. And then everybody's go ing t o b e happy at the end ca use h e finds the killer or whatever and brings hi m t o justice.

Kelley Lynch: 1:17Hey there I'm Cindy, I'm Tanvir, and I'm Kelly. Welcome to a new normal a podcast about how we're adapting to life during the pandemic and where we go from here today. We w anted to just jump on and talk about the biggest news of the last couple of weeks, which was definitely the conventions. At least here in America, it was the conventions and the Democrats and the Republicans laying out their vision for the future. So we thought it was definitely worth talking about, and I know it's been a week since they finished, but we're still thinking about the different stories that they tell about America and what that means for us going forward. [inaudible] If you were to look at the conventions in another way, you could think, okay, here's our country and we're this family. You know, we have founding fathers. We send our sons to war. T here a re brothers in arms. I mean, unfortunately, a lot of them are very militaristic in some way, but we've got this idea of ourselves as a family. And i t's k inda like the conventions are asking, well, what kind of family are we going to be? But we're not having a family meeting to decide that we're more like a family feud.

Cindy Sealls: 3:00Except you don't have Richard Dawson kissing all the women. Maybe you do. Wasn't that Joe Biden?

Kelley Lynch: 3:10Oh my God.

Cindy Sealls: 3:14In thinking about the parties as a family, then you wonder, okay, Who is the father in the family? What sit-com father fits the different parties. And definitely first thought out of my head, Trump is Archie Bunker. Joe Biden really is Mike Brady. Because remember Mike Brady was even divorced and remarried and they had this.

Kelley Lynch: 4:00Oh my G od. So true.

Cindy Sealls: 4:03Right? And their wife had died. You know , they weren't divorced. Both of their spouses had died and they, you know, brought this family together, you know? And he says, I'm a nice guy who his wife is like his partner, you know. Whereas Archie bunker he's, you know, we come on w we might think Trump's wives were doing something, but we know who's running that house . Right. I mean, we don't even have to think about that. I'm like , come on. And he sort of, you know, he's, he's the father of the house and his word is the law and there's no compromising . And It's my way or the highway. You can't even imagine Joe Biden saying, It's my way or the highway, you know, because that'd be like Mike Brady saying it. Mike Brady , he's got Carol right there. Carol, we've got to come and talk to the kids. You know, they're solving problems together. Whereas you know, Donald, Trump's not bring in Melania and saying, "Hey, help me solve this problem." He's not even bringing in his people who are there to counsel him and saying, help me solve this problem. Arrchie is calling people n ames like dingbat, meat head. You know, he's always ranting about how things are unfair for him. And I'm not saying that Archie bunker was all bad because you know, of course the show would show some good parts of h im, but i t, but it does, I mean, Are we sure that Hollywood didn't make up Donald Trump? Only because Donald Trump used to be a Democrat and it used to be moderate. He used to be for abortion rights. Yeah. I, you know, I don't know how much of i t i s schtick. Oh man. I just looked up the lyrics to the theme song of th e s how. You won't believe it. I just have to read you the words, Boy, the way Gl en M iller played, songs that made the hit parade, guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days. And you knew 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 state. Everybody pulled his weight. Man that old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.

Kelley Lynch: 7:17Holy. Oh my God. Oh, Wow. That makes it pretty clear. Why it's really hard to come together. And I think that reflects two really different world views.

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 7:42But the division that came out in the two conventions, it's dangerous for everybody because we live in a world which is interconnected. So it's kind of more like we are living in a global village.

Kelley Lynch: 8:07I mean, I understand that a lot of people don't like the, this kind of globalist view of things. And they want to think about what's going on for me in my country, in my life. But actually the pandemic has really shown that now more than ever, we can't get away from everybody else. We can't just isolate ourselves. It's impossible.

Obaidul Tanvir Fattah: 8:40Everyone is dependent on the next person as a, as a nation, as a country because we are all in the same boat.

Kelley Lynch: 8:52Oh my God, that reminds me of our new favorite. Cindy and I were talking with my uncle, Joe, that's not Joe Biden. And he told us this awesome analogy that he learned in management training about a boat. Hold on, let me cue up the audio.

Uncle Joe: 9:21What is the stable positions of a boat? That's a reasonable size. You know what let's say? You've got two people in a boat and you're got, got to decide how to keep it afloat and how to keep it a staple . Well, there's one very obvious stable position and that's two people sitting side by side in the middle of the boat. That's a pretty solid stable position, but there's another stable position. There's many other staple positions. The extreme staple position is you have a cord and two people hanging out the sides on each side of the boat on each side of the cord. It's a precarious stability, but it is a stable position. And the trouble with it is that they are still tied to each other. They're still depending on each other. One moves further away from the middle of the boat. Guess what. The other one's got to do? He's got to move further away from the middle. And you know, you'd hope that you would, most boats would like to be stable with people sitting side by side, but sometimes they find themselves sitting over the gunnels, fighting each other with this rope between them . And I think a lot of times we got to find ways to get back in the boat. And it's a very difficult thing. And it takes a lot of trust and sometimes a hell of a lot of compromise.

Cindy Sealls: 10:46If you're trying to make progress, say you're trying to move forward. If you're in a boat and you're trying to go somewhere at some point, everybody has to agree, Okay, we gotta, we gotta all focus here so we can get this boat moving forward. You guys can't be rowing that way and leaning over there because we're just kinda going around in circles right now.

Uncle Joe: 11:11That's what a leader's job in an organization is is to find out that we got people outside the boat. We had too many people vulnerable and the organization's vulnerable because everybody's leaning.

Cindy Sealls: 11:29That's a perfect picture of sort of our country.

Uncle Joe: 11:36And that's leadership's job to slowly get people back in the boat from an organizational standpoint. Country is way past my pay grade.

Cindy Sealls: 11:55If they want the boat to be stable inch by inch, they got to come back to the middle of the boat. But that takes a lot of communication and a lot of trust.

Kelley Lynch: 12:11And you have so many things going on at the same time,

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 12:17especially with this situation where the whole economy has come to a halt. It's like the worst possible time to be because you need everyone to row the boat forward. But if you are spending all your energy fighting each other and just, you know, rocking the ball , you , uh , end of the day, you are killing yourself. It's it's suicidal.

Cindy Sealls: 12:58You know what I thought I said, it's like, if you're hanging out on those edges of a boat and a woodpecker flies down and it's like pecking in the boat and your say, we gotta get that bird out of boat and your like, stop that. And it looks up to you. I was like, dude, dude, dude, dude, dude, dude, you're like, okay, you do this, you can do this. You know, the pandemic is like the little woodpecker that flies down there and it's just like pecking a hole in your boat while you two are out there arguing. And you're like, we got to get back into the boat because we've got to get rid of that bird. Having watched both conventions and seeing how diametrically opposed the viewpoints were for each of them. And then thinking about the boat analogy, how do we find balance between those two viewpoints so that we can move forward as a nation together?

Kelley Lynch: 14:15Surprisingly, I think All in the Family might actually offer an answer to that question. You've got these conservative parents, you've got these liberal kids. They all live under the same roof. That's the whole premise of the show. And without that tension, there's nothing to propel the story. And so you've got these kids and they want to change the way things are and do things differently. And you've got these parents who are saying, we like things the way that they were. And so they disagree on almost everything, the environment, gun control, John Wayne and the spirit of what made America great. What's good with America. What's bad with America, race relations, the crises in cities and all of these other issues that are so up to the minute.

Cindy Sealls: 15:2849 years ago. And it's the exact same thing. That's kind of sad.

Kelley Lynch: 15:36Actually. It is kind of sad. And in the end, it all boils down to this tension of, are we going to stay in familiar territory or are we going to move and try something new? And for all of us, change is difficult. We all have memories of the way things used to be. And to many of us, those were simpler times and there's a real appeal to that. Especially right now, life can feel really uncertain and frankly kind of scary. And in a way, I mean, I suppose that has probably been the story of, that's probably the story of every single culture that ever was.

Cindy Sealls: 16:40Just thinking again about all in the family. They have Archie and Mike right there , they're extremes. And then you have Gloria and Edith who kind of are balancing the two of them so that they can all live there together because Archie and Mike could not live in that house - just the two of them.

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 17:09It's like your boat and analogy you know, like they're the ones on the extreme end with the rope . And it has people in the middle who are balancing them. So that doesn't capsize.

Kelley Lynch: 17:24So, it's still a really precarious position. And when you think about it as a sitcom, it's no doubt naive to say, but you felt like things might actually get solved somehow, maybe not in 30 minutes, but they would get solved. But in recent years it feels like we've entered a really different world. That's a lot more like reality TV and there's this kind of manufactured drama competition where you gradually eliminate the participants. It's aggressive, it's chaotic. And it's designed to get people squabbling amongst themselves and keep it that way. So what's the point of all of this. And for me, the point is really that these national stories that we tell ourselves they're linked to our values, but they're ultimately stories much like a sitcom and yet they have tremendous consequences. And these stories, more than anything these days, are what drive our actions. Facts and figures and numbers pale into insignificance when you consider the importance of my tribe. And I think it helps. I mean, at least for me, it helps to remember that these are just stories and we're not people in a sitcom. We are complex three dimensional human beings. Our political identities are based on fictional stories. And so we're going to take our boat and we got all these people in the boat. And yet, because we are going to persist in telling ourselves some fictional stories, we're going to capsize the boat? I mean, to me, that is the most ridiculous idea.

Cindy Sealls: 20:22How do we inch our way back to the middle of the boat?

Kelley Lynch: 20:28I've got a few ideas. I think the first thing we can do is tune in tune in inside of ourselves and ask ourselves what story is playing.

Cindy Sealls: 20:43And once you know your own story and where that came from, why not talk to other people about their stories?

Kelley Lynch: 20:51Exactly. And listen. I think a lot of us in America are really good talkers. I don't think so many of us are good listeners,

Cindy Sealls: 21:06Especially when the story doesn't jive with with our story, you know. We shut that off. We don't even want to hear it.

Kelley Lynch: 21:17But ultimately, I think, the shortest distance between two people is a story. And then I think we could ask ourselves another question, which is like, who wrote this script and why, and where is that script leading us? And is that really the future that we want to create? Because it's up to us. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoyed the show brief as it may have been. And we hope you'll subscribe and share and follow us on Instagram next week. There's always the matter of next week. And yet again, I'm going to have to take the week off. I'm going to the green zone. Vermont, and Maine are the COVID green zones.

Cindy Sealls: 22:36And that's literally true about them . That is true. Very green up there in that.

Speaker 1: 22:42That's true too. That's true too, but they have very few cases. So they're considered a green zone. And uh , so I need to go and take some stuff up to my daughter because if she comes down here, which is a red zone, she can't go back to work for 14 days whenever she returns. And she has to have a COVID test. So they're serious about COVID in Vermont. So that means that we won't be here next week, but we'll be back the following week with another episode until then.