Living in the Age of Stupid. *Sigh* Yes.

Speaking of which, did you know this isn’t the first time? We actually had a political movement and party once before the Civil War that dubbed itself the “Know Nothings.”

They opposed immigration. Mostly they opposed immigration by the Irish, despising my ancestors for beings “Papists and drunks.” They plastered political posters all over showing starving families headed up by emaciated women cowering under the blows of a drunken Irish husband.

Equal opportunity, however, in their know-nothingness, they also hated on Italians, whom they accused (seriously!) of smelling of garlic.

I’m sure they probably hated the French too, but you know, oddly, people from that shithole mostly stayed home, probably unaware of how bad their food was. So the Know Nothings didn’t have much to say.

The Know Nothings really and truly hated free Black people, tending to lynch them when they had the opportunity.

That was one really ugly era in the American story. Thankfully, the party lost its struggle for political mainstream status, beaten out (and partly subsumed) by the newly born Republican Party — who were fairly good eggs for a whole, given the alternative at least.

Trump and his MAGATS remind me so very much of the Know Nothings. The parallels are striking and scary. Let’s hope Trumpism withers as quickly as the Know Nothings did.

Jim

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A Know Nothing poster from the 1840s. Hatin’ immihrants is a grand American tradition

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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