Roseanne Conner is not real, people, and so cannot be talked out of her support for Donald Trump. But you know what’s funnier than the sight of her TV sister Laurie Metcalf in that dumb pink hat and matching “Nasty Woman” T-shirt on the first episode of the “Roseanne” reboot?
Well since you asked, it’s all the dead-serious marshalling of arguments intended to force former Green Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr to admit under interrogation that her Trumpism is inconsistent with her own stated positions. Or to change her mind about how Barr’s sitcom alter ego would “really” have voted. Or to remind her that in 1992, Roseanne Barr said that Roseanne Conner would never talk on the show about how she voted. Good thing none of the rest of us has changed his or her mind about anything since then.
If you didn’t know better, you’d swear that some people believe that even fictional Trump supporters have no place on network television.
It’s to Trump’s perpetual advantage that some of his critics behave as though they’ve never met anyone who eats pizza with a fork, or who if he could afford it would sit on a golden throne, too. They still haven’t come to terms with the fact that many Americans really do say they voted for him, as Roseanne Conner did in her show’s record-breaking relaunch last week, because “he talked about jobs” and “said he’d shake things up.”
Now, unlike some presidents I could name, Roseanne did not start out with a “small loan of a million dollars” — really, a loan of many times that, plus a large starting salary. Instead, 17-year-old Roseanne gave birth to her first child while institutionalized after a brain injury. Yet she went on to turn her “domestic goddess” schtick and husband-bashing humor into a place in TV history.
As much as I respect all she’s accomplished, though, anyone demanding a cohesive political through-line from the comedian who screeched “The Star Spangled Banner” and pushed conspiracy theories and threatened to go after George Zimmerman personally after he shot Trayvon Martin is no more logical than she is. No more rational than it is to run for president on single-payer health care and universal college loan forgiveness and complete withdrawal from all foreign wars, and then a few years later turn to Obamacare-hating, Trump University-founding, defense budget-boosting Donald J.
It makes no particular sense to me, either, that Roseanne Barr says “a large part of why I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton is because (of) Haiti,” where the post-2010 earthquake recovery efforts of the Clintons and the international community in general have been flawed and frustrating.
But the out-of-all-proportion reaction to Roseanne’s electoral reasoning also makes me wonder: Do you guys ever listen to any non-stars talk about why they vote the way they do?
In decades of doing so, I’ve heard voters cite the following factors as definitive: His wife is not a nice person. His facial expressions bother me. I just think he’d be fun to have a beer with (even though he doesn’t drink beer). He betrayed his fellow soldiers (even though that’s not what he did). He’s got a terrible temper (even though as a POW, he endured more brutal treatment without breaking than most of us could). He’s not a Christian (even though he is). He isn’t in this for the money (even though no other president has been in the position to profit from those with business before the government in the way he has). Don’t change horses mid-stream, don’t cut and run, and other expressions devoid of meaning.
The only point being that we humans are not very good at knowing why we do what we do, and spout all manner of blah-blah to justify decisions that are more tribal and emotional than we tell ourselves.
Roseanne says that her hope in showing a political split within the Conner family was to push back against “people actually hating other people for the way they voted, which I feel is not American.” On that point, I couldn’t agree more. And laughing at at least some of our differences makes more sense than anything either she or her critics have said.