Back in the 1850’s, there really was a Know Nothing or Native American political party. Today, right here in the for real 21st Century we have a political party, the Republican Party, that shares some of the key beliefs that the know nothings supported. In the 1850’s, supporters of that political movement were against immigrants, in particular Irish Catholics and German immigrants. They didn’t want any immigrants that were Catholic.
Move forward into the 21st Century to the CPAC confab where prospective presidential candidates meet the grassroots conservatives of the Republican Party. A crescendo of boos met the introduction of Jeb Bush. Why did they boo him, you might ask? Well, he supports immigration reform. The idea of giving any legal status to who this group perceives to be illegals goes against their inflexible belief that all illegals should be sent back.
This group of conservatives is today’s Nativist group. They will proudly tell you that they are against illegal immigrants but in reality they are against any immigrants who are not Western European. They are specifically against anyone who is either from Mexico, or Central America. And God forbid if you are of the Muslim faith, no matter what country you are from. You never hear them complain about those illegals who come across the border from Canada.
The 1850’s Know Nothing Party had Millard Fillmore as a candidate. Some of you might take note that he actually was a President of the United States and not a cartoon character.
Now we have a good sized portion of the Republican Party who sound a lot like the Know Nothings of the past, as they ratchet up the fear of foreigners.
You have seen this week a group of presidential wannabes who have come to the CPAC to pander for their support. It is quite a rogues gallery of potential presidents who define what Know Nothings were all about. You have Mike Huckabee who wants to be our morality policeman. Don’t forget Baptists, and he is a Southern Baptist, they aren’t particularly fond of things like dancing and caffeine. In places like Louisiana, it is still hard to get elected north of New Orleans if you are a Catholic. You have Governor Walker who doesn’t want to say anything that might offend the know nothing wing of the Republican Party. You have Governor Christie who keeps telling people to shut up. And you have the true blue faithful’s favorites Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz.
The right wing, evangelical, Tea Party wing of the Republican Party give new meaning to the words know nothing. They find science dangerous because the truths that science holds, flies in the face of the beliefs that these so-called conservatives hold. They find those who are educated with for real, honest to goodness college degrees dangerous and elitist.
Inquiring minds want to know what are you all so angry about? What is to be feared from immigrants? Unless you are a real Native American, we all came from somewhere and we were all immigrants once.
Congratulations are in order, though, as all of you at the CPAC meeting rightfully deserve the honorable title of being the current Know Nothing Party.