Geraldo: Minutemen Are The 'Know-Nothings of Today'

It's the weekend, so under the more relaxed weekend rules, permit a somewhat aged item. Like a nice cheese. MRC's Geoff Dickens just recently found a Geraldo Rivera rant from the end of his syndicated show on the night of the May 1 work-boycott protest for illegal immigration.

They are demonstrating for justice and fair play for the 11 or 12 million living and working in the United States illegally. Many taking to the streets for these May 1st rallies are drawn from the community of the undocumented, others are citizens of the U.S. who, like myself, believe this nation of immigrants has room for more. Driven in part by the hysterical response of vigilante groups like the so-called Minutemen and by opportunistic congressmen who’d make felons of all those who are here illegally. Millions more of us today ask our fellow countrymen to treat the undocumented as honored guests.

While Rivera was willing to concede "sour notes" like the National Anthem rewritten with Spanish lyrics and dragging Mexican flags to protest rallies, he was more upset with the Minutemen, comparing them to the bigoted Know-Nothings of 19th century America:

If they are all felons what are the millions of homeowners, factory managers, farmers and restauranteurs who hire them everyday? Co-conspirators? Enablers? Hypocrites? Back in the mid 19th century there was a movement much like the Minutemen of today. Then it was called the Know-Nothings who were militantly opposed to the waves of mostly poor and Catholic immigrants fleeing the poverty and deprivation of their home countries in Europe in search of work and a better life here for their families. Now the descendants of those early illegals are part and parcel of the fiber of American society. At least by press time Monday’s demonstrations and boycotts have so far been overwhelmingly peaceful and I think productive. How better to educate the Know-Nothings of today. Until next time thank you very much for watching. See ya.

This would have to be quite insulting to opponents of illegal immigration who are Catholics.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis