A Television Icon Laments America's Divide, but There's a Greater Lesson - a Forgotten One We Learned Long Ago



On Sunday, I asked readers a question: We began as One Nation Under God; how do we heal our country’s present great divide?

Can it be done?


The Left and the Right seem such distant sides, and ugliness abounds.

In a recent interview with Fox News, an iconic star from the 70’s — someone who likely played a part in your childhood — had something to say about it.

The Brady Bunch’s Cindy Brady — otherwise known as actress Susan Olsen — remembered the good ol’ days when Americans congenially disagreed:

“[G]ee, we used to be able to have differences. And if you talked about them, you’d usually find there really isn’t that much difference between the Right and the Left…Now people are being called hateful. Betsy Ross is now hateful, and she was an abolitionist. The world’s gone nuts! … It’s misinformation. And these people are hypocrites.”

Susan knows a bit about accusations of animosity — she cast her ballot for one Donald J. Trump:

“I’ve been the subject of fake news. And it was shocking to me. The story was that I had been fired for a homophobic rant on the air. Yeah, I did rant at a guy, but it was not on the air. And I never got fired. But it was all part of my punishment for admitting that I voted for Trump.”

The 58-year-old explained that support for The Donald is a no-go in Tinseltown:

“Things being not fair, things being untrue — I can’t put up with it. I’m constantly being told by family members, ‘Susan, shut up. Don’t speak your opinion.’ Because my opinion is not very popular in Hollywood. And I know people who have been completely blacklisted because they’re not on the Left. … I’m not even a Republican. It’s not that I’m all that conservative.”


Not that conservative, but traditional. And that’s put her on the outs with some:

“Oh, I’ve said so much worse. But after the fake news bit, I left social media for a couple of years. .… It’s just too tempting to try to speak my mind. And it’s funny because I often had people on the other side say things that make me pause and reconsider what my position is. … I try not to be controversial on social media, but it’s hard to back away when someone knocks on American values. I really just want to protect them.”

Now, you may be wondering why I’m writing about the experience and ideas of someone who — though she’s hosted radio and intermittently acted — mostly left the national spotlight when she was 12 — over 45 years ago.

But the reason is significant: What was The Brady Bunch? It was the story of two people — from two different worlds, two different families — who came together. Two groups which united to form one. Mike and Carol Brady brought into unity two sides — men and women, Bradys and Martins (the girls’ previous last name).

Many of us grew up seeing those 8 individuals composed on our screen, in squares combined during the show’s introduction as the song reminded us:

“…That this group must somehow form a family…”

We heard and watched that a million times. It should’ve taught us a lot.

But the Bradys weren’t pioneers; they were following the lessons of a land comprised of many people from many places, who came together long ago. To form a family called America.


Beyond the King Kamehameha voodoo, Marsha’s pelted nose, Tiger’s unknown whereabouts, cousin Oliver’s antics, Greg’s groovy clothes, “Time to Change,” Alice and Sam’s ups and downs, Peter’s changing voice, Jan’s angst, Cindy’s Kitty Karry-All doll, and Bobby’s feelings of not fitting in, there was something bigger.

Something worth remembering.

Life may not be as easy as problems solved in half an hour; it might not be as neat as a back yard made of AstroTurf. But if we all want to live together, we could learn a lot from Mike, Carol, and the kids.

What made them the same was more important than what made them different. That’s the way we all become — once again — One Nation.



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