Back in the 1840s and 50s a group of like-minded Americans formed a political party named the No-Nothings. Membership was restricted to Protestant males over the age of 21. Originating in 1842 and calling themselves the American Republican Party (funny how that word ‘republican’ sticks like glue to bigotry). Members weren’t allowed to talk about the party’s activities, so when anyone was asked about it, they were supposed to answer, “I know nothing.”
They were a nativist political movement, which meant
Image via Wikipedia that, very much like the present GOP, they feared being overwhelmed by immigrants. At the time the immigrants were from Ireland and Germany, and to make matters worse they were Catholic! Of course, we all know today that those Irish and German immigrants–who only had to live in the United States for 5 years before they co
uld apply for full citizenship–became fervent Americans. Their descendants are probably the same people who are full of hatred and fear of the latest wave of immigrants to come to this country.
As you know I am talking of Hispanic people, but most especially Mexicans. With a little computer savvy today’s No-Nothings could easily edit the signs that faced our Irish ancestors: No Irish Need Apply. Because Mexicans often tend to have browner skin color, the No-Nothings feel they can pick them out of a crowd and make life as difficult as possible for these people, who came here to search for a dream like all of our ancestors did.
What is remarkable is how many No-Nothings have been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. This means that a significant portion of No-Nothings make up the Do-Nothing Congress. So we have people who don’t seem to care that our fellow Americans are hurting badly, can’t get work, are losing their homes, and may lose their health care.
I would venture to guess that almost all the No-Nothings are Christians, but with Pilates’ soul. A more crass, hypocritical group would be hard to find. Who among you would be willing to hold up aid to Americans made homeless by hurricane and flood? Who would have the nerve to suggest that poor people simply give up health insurance as a cost-saving measure for the country? Who still thinks the Civil War hasn’t ended? The No-Nothings of the Do-Nothing Congress!
These same No-Nothing/Do-Nothing representatives of the people are content to pay for two expensive wars on a U.S. credit card, but disdain to extend unemployment benefits to people thrown out of work by the economic tsunami created by Wall Street and its never-ending greed to more money. Not only are they unwilling to help their countrymen, but they sneer at them for being in their situation.
It is time to stand up to the No-Nothings and point out what they are: people not fit to bear the name American. It’s time to throw them out of the Congress, the state houses, and the local councils. This country needs a resurgence of Americanhood, where we expect to help each other and get a fair shake from every governmental agency we encounter.