Modern Day Know-Nothing Party

“The Know-Nothing movement was actually a group of secret anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and anti-immigrant political organizations that called itself the American party. The movement, comprised principally of native-born, white, Anglo-Saxon males, came into being in the 1850s, grew rapidly, and waned almost as quickly.

“In the early 1800s, as immigrants continued to flow into the United States, a number of American citizens grew increasingly alarmed. Waves of Germans, who mostly spoke in their native tongue, and Irish, whose thick brogues were difficult to understand, were two groups who inspired the great opposition. The clannish Irish, who were Catholics, were particularly feared and despised.” Read more: Know-Nothing Party

A century and half later, we have the modern day Know Nothings, the Tea Party.   Will it thrive long enough to cause the kind of damage the Know Nothings did in the 1850s, when its pro-slavery proclivities brought about the end of the Whigs, then the nation’s conservative party?  Might the Tea Party’s extremes so disrupt today’s Republicans that the GOP, too, might be gone?

Perhaps that’s too much to hope for, given the tendency in the nation these days to look for simplistic answers to complex problems.

It is, however, to be hoped that many folks who are finding answers from the Tea Party to solve their very real economic problems will soon see through the charlatans who are leading them and reject these xenophobic shouts.

Sadly, the Tea Partiers and their new Goddess Sarah may be able to cause serious mischief to our nation; already their idiotic rantings are being treated as legitimate by the media. Yes, even the “liberal media” is doing so: The New York Times, the major TV networks, NPR, the Associated Press, etc. all reported Sarah’s disjointed, fiction-filled speech seriously in their Sunday presentations.  Of course, you’ll expect Fox News to report her seriously, but the Times and NPR?  Come on!

Remember: this Tea Party Convention was run by a private individual; fees were $500 for the conference.  This was no legitimate political conference, yet it was treated as such.

Why oh why have we never seen similar coverage of the Green Party meetings, many of which have attracted large crowds?  It’s a legitimate third party, running candidates in virtually every state of the union, some even winning offices.

I remember freezing in a January 2003 demonstration outside of Milwaukee’s City Hall with more than 2,000 persons opposing Bush’s plans to lead us into the terribly unnecessary and disastrous Iraq War.  Similar demonstrations were held across the nation that January Saturday, but the news coverage was an “inside” story, hardly as well reported as the Tea Party session in Nashville on Feb. 6.  The thousands upon thousands of persons who opposed that war rarely got the news that the Alaskan Quitter got this weekend.

None of Sarah’s failures (including her obvious ignorance about simple facts and her notes inked on her hands) seem to daunt many of her followers.  They must see their own failures and shortcomings in her actions.

And then how about those of us who like to point out the foolishness of Sarah and her Tea Party-goers?  We’re accused of being “elitists” who care nothing about the woes of ordinary folks.

Let’s hope that the basic common sense of our citizens will soon see through the chicanery of this whole Tea Party movement.  They soon should realize that the policies this bunch preaches will do little to make the lives of ordinary citizens better, and will indeed make things worse.  The Tea Partiers talk about lower taxes, less government, and eternal war: it’s ordinary citizens who lose when there’s no tax revenue to pay for police protection and highways and, yes, Social Security and Medicare; it’s ordinary citizens who will be forced to work in unsafe and unhealthy workplaces and eat unregulated meat full of e-coli; it’s ordinary citizens who supply the soldiers, sailors and marines that will fight and die and be maimed in those eternal wars.

At the risk of being called an elitist, I must urge the Tea Partiers to begin to look at the truth and the facts, rather than cheer the fantasies preached by the Sarah and her cohorts on the platform at the Grand Ol’ Opry Resort in Nashville.  Let’s recognize the Tea Partiers are nothing more than a reincarnation of the old Know Nothings, and that party died, but not before it complicated the national debate on slavery.


2 thoughts on “Modern Day Know-Nothing Party

  1. The real startling development with Sarah Palin is that what is left of the journalistic community in this nation is sadly not doing its job. Why don’t they report all of the shortcomings of both Sarah and her party? Covering her as a legitimate national political leader is one thing. But then hold her and her Tea Party accountable by giving her the very same close going over reserved for the leader of the other party, President Obama. Perhaps then it will become obvious the Empress is wearing no clothes.
    Thomas Marting Sobottke

  2. Hey, I was outside City Hall in 2003, too. I didn’t see you there! But seriously, Ken, even though we didn’t make a difference, it was good to be there. Thanks for being one of the people whose example has kept me from being discouraged. I learned a lot from the way you would always engage people who disagreed with you instead of blasting them!

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