Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Neo-Know-Nothings


The Know-Nothing Flag of 1850

Long time Republican good old boy Ed Meese was Attorney General under Reagan. Nowadays Meese is part of Heritage Foundation... a John Birch Society clone from the Koch Brothers legacy (Poppa Koch founded the original). In the 1960s Civil Rights times, the Birchers wore respectable suits and ties, but if you scratched one you'd find a hooded white robe and a burning cross tattoo. 

As for our modern John Birchers, the Tea Party Republicans, to find any comparable movement I think you must go back in time to another Republican skin disease in the early days of our republic.  The stylishly named Know-Nothings had a run from about 1845 to about 1860. Nationally they called themselves both the American Republican Party and the Native American Party. In those days a "Native American" meant a white person born in the USA. They were a big deal in Ohio in the area that is now Boehner's district. Their big issue was immigration and they hated the Catholic Irish people invading America in those days. They were a violent sect, and they even burned a Catholic church in Maine. They had chaotic shoot outs over governor candidates in Kentucky leaving twenty-two dead. They were very secretive and even sounded like a fraternity. They probably had a secret handshake. In their twilight Lincoln quashed their candidates in Illinois. 

The Know-Nothings one saving grace was Congressman Nathaniel P. Banks who helped buy Alaska. Old Nathan served in the Union army where in perilous battle he learned well the corporate raider instincts that in our century young candidate Romney very safely picked up at Harvard Business School. All those business people in Washington knew there was certainly a lot of mining money to be made up north to Alaska. Just like the Mitten, the pluperfect patriot Nathan served a time as Governor of Massachusetts. 

Much later after the great Civil war some of the Know-Nothings Southern "nativist" members were founders of the Ku Klux Klan. Finally in our time, Martin Scorsese used one sordid killer Know-Nothing character in his "Gangs of New York" movie. All of the smelly Tea Party Republican creeps in congress are basically Neo-Know-Nothings. 

Really all these Tea Party Republican types and John Birchers should just move on down to Texas... where all are sheltered from everything Western civilization has discovered in the past thousand years. 

But please, please everyone... know about this: The present-day Tea Party Republican rave is not because of beliefs or opinions or philosophy. 

It looks like they really do not care about the polls. They must be getting their payoff some other way! And I believe it is all about the money. Everybody knows we have a Tea Party Republican Pay-Per-Vote™ US Congress. 

If the Tea Party Republican crew in our Congress can cause the market to tank or to rise they stand to make millions. Tea Party Republican skippers Ryan and Boehner and McConnell and Cruz and the Koch Brothers are all short-selling America and manipulating the stock market. 

Plus the whole scam is timed to be in the center of the Tea Party Republican Congress's term. They are counting on their constituents back home forgetting about all the disruption they caused. Very treacherous but probably very true. 

They should all be in jail with old Bernie Madoff... we could build a new prison in Texas.  

The Klan Parading in DC 1926 


Paul Ryan Posing in DC 2012  


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Special thanks to Terraplane Marquez for his evocative comments 
on Ed Meese the original Neo-Know-Nothing pinup.


12 comments:

barry young said...

great post, martin. also, perplexing and terrifying that there could exist a wildly hateful unclear-thinking group like the tea party in this decade.
the koch's plan for misdirection seems to be going somewhat according to plan.

Mea Two Socks said...

Shared this on Facebook. Very interesting the back history. Agree 100%.

Friendship Valley said...

A brilliant, clear, and informative blog, Martin. A pleasure to read; a caution to consider.

Friendship Valley said...

A brilliant, clear, essay, Martin. Thanks

Friendship Valley said...

Great essay. Important points. Well written.

Anonymous said...

I am 68 years old and sometimes I cannot believe how low our country has sunk. The educational system and television have created a nation of mindless haters. It is depressing and scary at the same time. After living through the 60's and then the terrible Reagan years of greed, things are just getting worse. I guess America's new slogan should be "I got mine, screw you".

William Hedrick said...

Beautifully written. As a historian, the truth gives me a woody.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this eye opening piece. Scary (& sad) that these beliefs & practices still exist.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Thank you for such an informative and concise essay.
C. De Melo (www.cdemelo.com)

Judith Witasik said...

It is my hope that their manipulations will backfire. I am saddened by how these people are ruining this great country. Not everyone has been seduced by ignorance. Sadly, we must take out all of the incumbents to cleanse the system. GOP has to go first.

Anonymous said...

Please don't encourage these folks to come to Texas. We are doing our best to turn this state Blue.

detnick36 said...

Outstanding blog. I've have been trying to raise the alarm among people I know about this same issue and tried to recount some of the history of the John Birch Society, it's role in American political issues and societal approaches during the 50' and 60's. Folks who are not Boomers probably don't recall much about the role that the John Birch Society played in our country back then. But they have consistently remained behind the scenes, manipulating the weak and paranoid minds among us.