It was only a matter of time before we got around to exploring Mayberry’s seedy underground. The story begins when Barney interrupts Andy and Floyd’s post-haircut ritual to tell Andy he’s hot on the trail of an illegal still. When the two lawmen are on the way to bust up the operation they are stopped by a pair of elderly women. The Morrison sisters, Jennifer and Clarabelle, tell them that Barney is mistaken and point them in the direction of a still they know to exist. Andy and Barney successfully arrest the moonshiner and destroy his still. When they visit the Morrison sisters to thank them for their help the ladies have another tip for them.
With two moonshiners in custody and both of their stills broken Andy and Barney think they’ve eradicated intoxicants from the region until Otis stumbles in. Realizing they have more work to do they get down to business. Otis proves his mettle and refuses to snitch so they’re on their own. They spread out a map and try to figure out the most probable location of the third still. Fortunately, they get another tip from an unlikely source. Opie comes in after picking flowers in the Morrison sisters’ garden to give to his teacher. He claims the Morrison’s have the best flowers and attributes their horticultural success to a “flower machine.”
It turns out that the charming old biddies have been running their own still out of their greenhouse and their helpful tips to the police were a way of getting rid of the competition. They justified their actions with a belief that their moonshine was intended only for celebrations while the other two were selling moonshine intended for drinking. It didn’t seem to occur to them that Otis and their other customers weren’t really invested in Bastille Day or National Potato Week.
Barney takes an ax and hacks the still apart, causing its contents to spray all over nearby Andy. The ladies seemingly realize the error of their ways and go straight, entering a new business venture selling preserves; preserves which happen to have a staggering alcohol content.
- Andy says Mayberry is a dry county but in the Christmas episode Ben Weaver says that he sells “spirits” in his department store.
- Floyd gets Andy’s sideburns even. Floyd’s first appearance (when he was played by a different actor) established that he struggles with sideburns.
- One of the sisters’ customers claims he is celebrating Muhammad’s birthday. It’s nice to see elderly ladies in a small town be tolerant of Islamic practices, even if the practitioner is faking it.
The Moral of the Story
To draw any sort of lesson from this episode we have to take it as given that making, selling, and drinking alcohol is unethical, whether you or I believe that is true or not. The Morrison Sisters believe it is true, but they have convinced themselves that they are doing nothing wrong when they make and sell alcohol themselves. They believe they’re actions are better than those of the other moonshiners because alcohol for “drinking purposes” is wrong but alcohol for the occasional holiday is fine. They have used a razor thin difference of intention to justify their actions.
This month the North Carolina congress is taking steps to correct an egregious wrongdoing; they are making new election maps to correct the rampant gerrymandering that has plagued the state. North Carolina’s electoral maps have been criticized for giving Republicans an unfair advantage and for specifically diminishing the votes of black people. In February last year a federal court ruled that the criticisms were correct and in May this year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that ruling. Republicans, who were responsible for drawing the maps and have profited the most from them, deny the accusations, or at least part of them. Representative David Lewis, chairman of the state House Select Committee on Redistricting, promised that race was not a concern in drawing the districts but acknowledged that political advantage was. “We want to make clear that we … are going to use political data in drawing this map… It is to gain partisan advantage on the map … I want that criteria to be clearly stated and understood.”
So there you have it, everything is fine. David Lewis wants us all to know that he didn’t mean to be racist. He corrupt actions aren’t racially corrupt, just regular, power hungry corrupt. It’s just a coincidence that black people were disproportionately affected because they tend to vote Democrat. They were merely unavoidable casualties in the Republican Party’s battle for power. And of course, it’s an inexplicable phenomenon that black people are Democrats more often than not. It’s almost as mysterious as the time North Carolina Republicans drafted voter ID laws that targeted black people with “almost surgical precision.” Or as random as when former Republican Senator and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions “used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters” according to Coretta Scott King.
It should go without saying that the President of the United States, who is a Republican, has never, ever intended to be racist. All those years Donald spent accusing President Obama, the first black President, of lying about his American citizenship even after he publicly released his birth certificate were nothing but a pure and patriotic quest for the truth. And when he decided to run for President himself and started his campaign by falsely claiming that the majority of undocumented Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals he was just saying what everyone else who believes that racist lie was thinking. And when he banned immigration from seven countries full of brown people he did so honestly and truly believing that every single one of them was a potential threat to America because wouldn’t that be just the kind of strange coincidence we’ve seen so much of lately? And when white supremacists marched on an American university, killing a woman named Heather Heyer, he really meant to admonish the Nazis, and just the Nazis, and certainly he didn’t intend to claim the fault lied on “many sides.” It’s just that the words “Nazis are evil” didn’t feel right coming out his mouth for some inexplicable reason. He just felt more comfortable saying that everyone, including the people standing up to the white supremacists, were to blame. All he needed was two days for specifically condemning neo-Nazis to come to him more naturally. You can’t possibly demand someone in his position to call neo-Nazis evil on the same day that neo-Nazis publicly commit an act of evil. Also, you have to give him room to take back his reluctant condemnation of neo-Nazis the day after that.
Do you see? It’s just random happenstance that people of color don’t vote Republican, which is why when North Carolina Republicans tried to persecute Democrats they accidentally persecuted black people the most. Even though these things might seem racist and corrupt it’s just an illusion. They certainly weren’t intended that way.