Darn it! I Was Wrong about “Roseanne”

Just a few short months ago, I was a wide-eyed optimist… believing the revived TV sitcom could start a real conversation in America. I even wrote a blog about how she could be the one to change the conversation.

I put Rosanne in quotes in this blog title, because I mean the TV show and not the woman.

Could the show bridge the divide that widened not so long ago?

Some of us have watched with amazement in November 2016 and beyond as people supported a misogynist racist. People clung to their values as the reason, but so many of us heard words like “grab any woman by the pussy” and “Mexico sends its murderers and rapists” and “some are very good people” when speaking about neo-Nazis … and we can’t understand what values put him in power.

So, here comes Roseanne… someone I disagree with on many levels, but brought opposing views from her own on to her sitcom… in a heartfelt way.

I believed many could see each other more clearly through the witty exchanges on a funny sitcom. I hoped we would cut through the noise when we watched a conservative woman hug her grandson who loved dressing like a girl, despite the fact she thought it was the wrong thing to do.

Then… the Roseanne, without quotes, reared her racist head. To be clear, most already knew she was a racist. She has never hidden her feelings about those different from her.

However, if you were a fan of her first go ’round in sitcom-land, you would know that she was big on inclusion within her sitcom family. An episode with a young DJ who didn’t want to kiss a black girl ended with Roseanne and Dan sternly explaining why he was wrong. (I loved that he was married to that same girl in the reboot.)

The Connors loved and supported each other, even when they didn’t agree. I truly thought… “Hey! Yes! This is what we need to be reminded to do.”

The issue for Roseanne, without the quotes, is, we have had enough.

We are tired of white people who think it is ok to use the phrase “I’m not racist.” while saying or believing disparaging things about others as a race. Or, supporting a candidate who has clearly said racist things, and say those who don’t are being snowflakes when we call that out as wrong.

So, while “Roseanne” does get some credit for peeling back the curtain on our current state of race relations and our clear separation based on hypocrisy… Roseanne, without the quotes, cannot get a pass for calling a woman the product of an ape.

And, so, here we are… still stuck on our sides, gripping our flags, claiming our own righteousness. We are divided and many just don’t care because the “other side” is just wrong. Some have stopped even trying to see “the other side.”

Heck, many have stopped caring about the issues completely. They don’t care WHAT is said… only WHO said it.

For example, Ben Bowling is the valedictorian of a senior class at a Kentucky high school. He told the audience he wanted to share inspirational quotes he found on Google. He then said:

“Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table. -Donald J. Trump”

The crowd busted into applause and cheered. Then Bowling said:

“Just kidding. That was Barack Obama.”

The crowd became noticeably quiet.

You see, it is hard to admit when you are wrong.

I have never minced words about how I feel about our current state of politics. I am not a supporter of the current administration or the leaders in Congress. However, sometimes they get it correct, and those are the moments I have to admit that they are not always bad.

Alice Marie Johnson and her family would agree with me.

She is home with her family right now, after being in prison for 21 years. She was in prison for dealing cocaine and leading the drug ring that sold tons of cocaine from 1991 to 1994.

Her case seems to be a classic one for Trump who claims to be tough on drug crimes. He even proposed the death penalty for dealers.

Except, he ended up doing the opposite by granting her clemency. (not a pardon)

He might have done it for the wrong reasons: another reality star asked and he saw the publicity gold… he is sending a message to others that he can do this (though I think he has other ideas to get that job done)…. We can get into a “Yeah, BUT… ” argument all day.

Whatever the reason, a woman who has seemed to turn her life around, and has already served 21 years, is home with her family tonight.

No matter how I feel about him, I can see the good in this.

I was hoping “Roseanne” was going to help us all start to see each other as humans again.

Instead, Roseanne, without quotes, came out from a blanket that covered her racism and showed who she is, yet again. (Though one can argue she had already done that with the “Fresh Off the Boat” episode that was insensitive to other races, to say the least.)

I’ve watched the “whataboutism” explode: What about Samantha Bee? The View? I’ve seen people justify Roseanne with this defense.

Different corners, different outrages… or are they? We really need to re-examine who is the target of our rage. If you switch out names, like Bowling did, you may realize the rage is at actions and words… and should be at the people slinging them… no matter the party affiliation.

The bottom line is I was wrong about “Roseanne”, and now I wonder what it will be to set us closer to the correct track.

I read about plans to maybe do a show with the “Roseanne” cast, minus Roseanne. Maybe they will try again. Maybe it will work.

Or, maybe we just need an election to rebalance the nation. Maybe we need people to show up to the polls. Maybe we need to remember the “Golden Rule” or anything we were taught in Kindergarten about how we treat others.

The alternative is we continue down this rabbit hole, and frankly, that is the last place we should be heading.

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