Few stanzas are better ingrained in the minds of heartland America than those that are whistled during the opening scenes of “The Andy Griffith Show,” which began airing on American televisions in 1968. The visions of Opie (Ron Howard) with his fishing pole and Barney Fife (Don Knotts) fumbling for his revolver are ones that viewers who watched the show are slow to forget.
There was a level of purity to the show that made it apropos for people of all ages: Fathers watched with their sons, mothers with their daughters, and grandparents watched with grandkids at their feet. Everyone learned that they could trust Griffith to keep things straight and to see things with a clarity that often eluded Deputy Fife.
But that clarity was recently shot through the heart when Griffith’s aged face appeared in a commercial praising the passage of Medicare by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964 and shilling for the “good things” in Obamacare. (The first time I saw the commercial I gritted my teeth in anger and my lips became so taunt that I couldn’t have whistled the opening lines to The Andy Griffith Show’s theme, even if I’d wanted to.)
What’s the deal with Griffith pimping himself out like this? Moreover, what’s up with a view of history that’s so distorted that it actually sees big government as a good thing? These aren’t the small town values in which we immersed ourselves by watching the day-to-day lives of our favorite rural Americans.
By doing this commercial, Griffith has joined the ranks of people like Larry Hagman (J.R. on “Dallas”), who came out three weeks ago and sacrificed his dignity by warning that civilization is going to end unless we turn to solar energy.
Seeing the former sheriff of Mayberry carrying water for Obama called to mind that piercing, Hillary Clinton-like voice of Sally Struthers, who went from “All In the Family” to those horrid infomercials that began with her asking all of us: “Do you want to make more money?”
And how can Griffith speak well of anything President Johnson did, particularly Medicare? Lest we forget, Medicare was one of the chief things against which Ronald Reagan spoke as he toured the country, campaigning for Barry Goldwater. As a matter of fact, Medicare exemplified the kind of big government excesses that convinced Reagan to leave the Democrat Party and join the Republicans. (Reagan called Medicare “Socialized Medicine.”)
And while I hate to say anything disrespectful of Griffith, it must be noted that he magnifies the ugliness of his historical revisionism by telling outright lies during the commercial for Obamacare. In the middle of the commercial he tells seniors they’ll now be getting “free check-ups” from their doctors. I would laugh at this statement if it weren’t for the fact that I feel bad for the many diseased and disabled senior citizens who will actually believe Griffith on this one.
How are doctor’s visits going to be free Mr. Griffith? Are doctors suddenly going to begin working for nothing?
Nothing is free, and Griffith knows this. If your grandpa goes to the doctor and doesn’t get charged for it that doesn’t mean it was free. Rather, it means the doctor is getting the money from someone else who is forced to pay for grandpa’s healthcare via confiscatory taxes levied on people whom the government deems capable of paying for their own healthcare and the healthcare of others.
Perhaps someone who knows Griffith personally can pull him aside and talk some sense to him before he takes this dog and pony show further and starts doing Viagra commercials like former Sen. Bob Doyle.
Until then one thing is for sure: We’re not in Mayberry anymore.