A Glance Over the Left Shoulder at Mayberry

"Sheriff" Andy
"Sheriff" Andy of Mayberry

Ever since Andy Griffith started touting Barack Obama’s health care reform by popping up on commercials, I’ve had to take a new look at Mayberry.

The oh so homey, all American town that was the backdrop for “The Andy Griffith Show”, was watched (and still is) by millions who considered it to be mild mannered entertainment. But ever since Andy started telling us how we WILL LIKE Obamacare, and his liberal past has been discussed, I’m not so sure.

Everyone remembers how it opens. Andy and son, Opie, fishing poles across their shoulders, amble down to a lake. The whistling theme song makes it seem as squeaky clean and innocent fun as it gets. But was it?

Did anyone ever ask whose lake Andy and Opie were going to get fish from? If you listen carefully you can hear Opie ask Andy, “Hey Dad, isn’t this Mr. Rockefeller’s lake? Aren’t we trespassing?” It’s enlightening to hear Andy’s answer.

“Son, does anyone really own this land? Just because he has a deed and his family has owned it for years, why shouldn’t the hungry proletariat get in on some of the wealth?”

Why, I never, as Aunt Bea might say. And did Aunt Bea work for wages or was it, as Andy tells her, all for the common good? Every few episodes you get a whiff of rebellion from Aunt Bea in the kitchen, along with a smaller piece of the huckleberry pie for Andy.

About that sheriff’s position. According to the show, Sheriff Taylor was not elected to this post. He was appointed. Hey Andy, what do you have against democracy, huh?

I notice, too, that there really isn’t any capitalism in Mayberry. No industry. Just moonshine and bootlegging. Maybe it helps to be on Andy’s good side as the authority figure in the town. No wonder Otis was always drunk. You wouldn’t want to cross Andy. Better to put yourself in the slammer than to have Andy do it.

The same goes for Floyd Lawson, the hapless barber. All he can talk about is the weather. Let’s put it this way, it’s safer to talk about that around Andy and Barney than to share your thoughts on politics. One of the only other employed, Emmett Clark, has a fix it shop. That’s because nobody has money to buy anything new in Mayberry. Andy was early in recognizing the need for recycling and green in the new proletariat.

Andy kept a tight lid on the media, too. Mayberry had just one long distance telephone line out. Fortunately, the phone lady, Sarah, was a friend of Andy’s and she could pass on any “unfortunate comments” Mayberrians might make.

Barney, or the “useful idiot” as Andy calls him, helped keep the lid on the town.  Gomer Pyle,  service station attendant, went off to link arms with his brothers in the  fight or was it just rehearsal for future radical upheavals? Had the show continued a few more years, Gomer probably would have joined in the fight to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, giving his contribution to the decay of the military industrial complex.

If only the health care reform act had made it through in the ’60s. Andy Griffith was just ahead of his time. Had it happened today, Griffith could have pioneered in the happy euthanasia of Aunt Bea and genetic cleansing of inhabitants such as Otis and his hillbilly cousins.

For now, Andy Griffith will have to be content to contribute what he can in Obama’s America. Funny, it doesn’t look like Mayberry.

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