In the age of MAGA and QAnon, let’s look back at a conservative icon from another era.
Mallory: Everyone, I want you to meet Jamie Carter.
Alex [Jumping into Steven’s lap]: AAAUGH!
Steven: Alex, she said Jamie, not Jimmy.
I entered the 1980s as an eight-year-old and exited the decade as an eighteen-year-old. To have gone through that stage of life with Ronald Reagan as our president…yeah. There’s a reason why guys in my age group are so fucked up. But we did have video arcades.
If you’re not familiar with it, the sitcom Family Ties was about a ’60s hippie couple, Steven and Elyse Keaton, now raising a family in the 1980s. Their oldest son, Alex, also happened to be a Reagan Republican. Michael J. Fox became a major star playing this briefcase-carrying, Wall-Street-Journal-reading teenager.
When I look around the country, it feels like Alex P. Keaton would have a hard time existing these days. If anything, his brand of conservatism feels more Wall Street Democrat rather than MAGA and QAnon.
I’m writing this after Ted Cruz abandoned Texas and its power outage problems to travel to Cancun. Which seems so…modern Right wing.
Also, Rush Limbaugh died this week. While Rushton is older than the fellas I’m talking about in this post, he did get his start in the ’80s and taught younger white men that rich white men have super-duper-powers. And to tie in with this post, Rush Limbaugh even publicly made fun of Michael J. Fox after the actor developed Parkinson’s disease. Such a modern Right wing move.
Alex P. Keaton doesn’t seem like he’d fit in today. Yeah, the character worshipped money and all that, but I can’t see a real-life version of him getting along with the Fox News chickenhawks, Silicon Valley techbros, Wall Street hard-asses, or Steve Bannon. More accurately, those types would sense his open-mindedness and banish him from the tiki-torch-carrying death cult.
On the flip side, though, I believe that Alex would be repulsed by the crowd who boasts deliberately ignorant nonsense like, “Sure, more than 300,000 Americans died of Covid-19 in 2020…but the stock market ended the year great!“
Imagine Alex talking about the OANN or Breitbart reader in an episode of Family Ties.
SCENE: Alex comes home after his Young Republicans Club meeting, puts his briefcase down, sits at the kitchen table with his hippie-dad and hippie-mom.
Alex [Loosening his tie]: Mom, Dad…this new kid showed up to our Young Republicans meeting today. He seemed okay at first, but then it got weird. He and I hit it off talking about how Nixon has been so misunderstood. But then he said, “You know who else was misunderstood? Adolf Hitler, that’s who.” Then he made jokes about shooting homeless Vietnam veterans for sport and said the guys were suckers for letting themselves get drafted. As we were getting up to leave, he asked us why we had so many female members in our club. It was weird, Mom and Dad…”
Do Alex P. Keaton-Republicans exist in 2021?
Older posts about the 80s.
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