Schlafly’s Ignorance of History

Phyllis Schlafly repeats the same xenophobia of earlier generations in her most recent column at the Eagle Forum website. She says that unlike the Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants of the past, modern immigrants don’t really want to be Americans and be patriotic:

The vetting of immigrants should make sure that the applicant really wants to become an American. The immigrants of earlier generations, Irish, Italian, Jewish, etc., certainly did want to be Americans; like Irving Berlin, their attitude was God Bless America.

There is plenty of evidence that legal and illegal immigrants of various nationalities, in contravention of our citizenship pledge, retain their loyalty to the land they came from. Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism at the New America Foundation in Washington, says, “I think there’s often a sense of divided loyalties in these cases where Americans turn to violent jihad — are you American first or are you Muslim first?”

Our government should investigate thoroughly and reject those who do not want to become Americans, obey our Constitution and laws, speak our language, and salute our Flag. And they have to accept the rule that disputes in our courts must be decided according to U.S. law, not any foreign law.

Funny, your ideological ancestors said the exact same thing about those same Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrants that you are now holding up as so different from today’s immigrants. Being a wingnut means never recognizing that the same bigoted, paranoid things you’re saying now were said by the wingnuts that came before you.

29 comments on this post.
  1. composer99:

    Given the email posts you regularly share from Mike Weinstein, Ed, at least as far as Jews go we don’t even have to look into the past to see that Schlafly’s claims are BS.

  2. Modusoperandi:

    “Funny, your ideological ancestors said the exact same thing about those same Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrants that you are now holding up as so different from today’s immigrants. Being a wingnut means never recognizing that the same bigoted, paranoid things you’re saying now were said by the wingnuts that came before you.”

    Oh, please! Everybody knows that the last good wave of immigrants was the one that lead to me.

  3. Synfandel:

    …are you American first or are you Muslim first?

    Did America just become a religion or did Islam just become a country?

  4. John Pieret:

    John F. Kennedy, a third generation American, had to pledge his loyalty to America and not the Pope in order to be elected president because of the fears of his “divided loyalties” by Schlafly’s ideological ancestors.

  5. Sastra:

    “…are you American first or are you Muslim first?”

    And how would Schlafly answer the question “Are you American first or are you Christian first?”

    I think we can all make a pretty good guess here — assuming, of course, that she could allow herself to entertain a hypothetical conflict.

  6. Modusoperandi:

    John Pieret, I should note that she’s Roman Catholic. If anything, she’d be mad that he wasn’t more Pope-centric*.
     
    * Pope-Centric is also a Finnish breakfast cereal. (“Pope-Centric! Pope-Centric! It’s the cereals that’s made from eels!”)

  7. Modusoperandi:

    Sastra “I think we can all make a pretty good guess here — assuming, of course, that she could allow herself to entertain a hypothetical conflict.”
    There is no conflict. American, Christian. They’re the same thing.
    Here, let me draw you a wingnut Venn diagram…

  8. EricJ:

    My translation of Schafly:

    “It’s OK to let immigrants come to America, so long we make sure they will only vote Republican when they become citizens.”

  9. doublereed:

    It’s all been done.

  10. Claudia Sawyer:

    German immigrants weren’t all that welcome during WW1.

  11. Skip White:

    Being descended from pale Germans who came to the New World before the American Revolution, when I overhear people complain about this generation’s immigrants, I’m tempted to say “yeah, it’s all been downhill since the 1880′s with all those filthy Irish and Eye-talians.”

  12. Glenn E Ross:

    Being a wingnut means never recognizing that the same bigoted, paranoid things you’re saying now were said by the wingnuts that came before you.

    Isn’t that the way it’s always been? The tea party patriots that worship their version of the constitution were the same Tories that worshiped the monarchy and British rule. The leaders of the fundamentalist churches have become the Pharisees that Jesus railed against.
    These types of people protect the status quo at the expensive of social progress no matter the age they live in. They worship the originators of the current status quo even though those originators were the progressives or revolutionaries of their age. It’s one of the many aspects of the of the wingnut mind that makes my head want to asplode.

  13. d.c.wilson:

    Skip White:

    And your pre-Revolutionary War German ancestors weren’t exactly welcomed by the Anglo-descended people already living there. Even Benjamin Franklin bitched about how we were letting too many of “those people” settle in America.

    That’s the grand American tradition: every group that came here eventually became assimilated to the point where they could complain about the next wave.

  14. Bronze Dog:

    John Pieret, I should note that she’s Roman Catholic. If anything, she’d be mad that he wasn’t more Pope-centric*.

    * Pope-Centric is also a Finnish breakfast cereal. (“Pope-Centric! Pope-Centric! It’s the cereals that’s made from eels!”)

    I wonder if she supplies those eels, since I hear her soul is full of ‘em. I wonder what she does with her brain spiders and the unwashed socks in her heart.

  15. timgueguen:

    Conversely, some Americans of Irish descent were fond enough of the IRA to send it money back in the ’70s and ’80s.

  16. sabai456:

    Ask Schlafly if she is an American first or a Christian first … then watch her squirm.

  17. Someone’s Ignorance Made Me Think Of Grandpa! | Meddling Kids:

    [...] what I thought of when I read a post on Dispatches from the Culture Wars today entitled Schlafly’s Ignorance of History. Read the post, but the broad strokes are that Phyllis Schlafly was saying that the goddamned [...]

  18. bmiller:

    One of the more vigorous anti-immigrant voices at my workplace…he is a “person of the vowell”. It is terrible of me, but I remind him after each rant that HIS KIND were not considered worthy (or white) by my more pale ancestors either.

  19. vmanis1:

    Isn’t the Eagle Forum already defined as a terrorist organization?

  20. thebookofdave:

    @Synfandel #3

    1) Yes, and
    2) Reply hazy, ask again later.

  21. Pen:

    Funny, your ideological ancestors said the exact same thing about those same Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrants that you are now holding up as so different from today’s immigrants.

    Mere common sense suggests that yesterday’s immigrants were motivated more by a desire to avoid poverty, famine and death by violence than by becoming American. Given that they had fewer opportunities to learn much about America before arriving and were less likely to speak English in those days (Irish excepted), I would have thought that quizzing them about their patriotism on arrival wouldn’t have yielded much.

  22. iangould:

    The Fenian Raids.

    Look them up.

    The information you find may be useful the next time someone argues that only a failed state would permit terrorists to operate from their territory.

  23. Modusoperandi:

    Pen “Mere common sense suggests that yesterday’s immigrants were motivated more by a desire to avoid poverty, famine and death by violence than by becoming American. Given that they had fewer opportunities to learn much about America before arriving and were less likely to speak English in those days (Irish excepted), I would have thought that quizzing them about their patriotism on arrival wouldn’t have yielded much.”
    Oh, please! Back in the days of the “right kind of immigrant”* they wanted to be American so much that a bunch of them changed their names right there at at Ellis island. Good, strong, American names like Smith and [something that sounds similar to, but isn't their real last name] and, apparently, Schlafly.
    Nowadays, these new entitled immigrants expect to keep their weirdo foreign names? How unpatriotic is that?
     
    * *wink, wink*

  24. thisisaturingtest:

    There is plenty of evidence that legal and illegal immigrants of various nationalities, in contravention of our citizenship pledge, retain their loyalty to the land they came from.

    And that evidence would be? Oh- another broadly stated opinion which happens to be the same as yours. Folks like Schlafly live in a world where the word “evidence” means something entirely different than in a reality-based world. I comment a fair bit over at Media Matters for America, and I see this same use of the word “evidence” by RWNJs there. And if you challenge them to actually produce any of this “evidence,” you get the standard evasion- “Look it up yourself! I’m not gonna do your homework for you!” I always tell them the same thing- “I’m not asking you to do any homework for you, I’m asking you to show that you’ve done any yourself.”

  25. notruescott:

    Ah yes, the good old days when immigrants showed their new found American patriotism by not settling in the Chinatown, little Italy, or Jewish sections of most major US cities, which areas still don’t exist to this day.
    Not only is she ignorant of history, she’s apparently never gone further from home than her church on the corner or the McDonalds down the street.

  26. Ichthyic:

    like Irving Berlin, their attitude was God Bless America.

    seeing Schlafly use someone as an example makes me immediately think to review what that person really did think.

    so…

    I wonder if schafly ever knew that Berlin was a supporter of Al Smith (staunch democrat), opposed prohibition, married a catholic, or that he thought “god bless america” was just another tune, and one he didn’t even consider worth using until 20 years after he actually wrote it.

    of course not.

    for people like schlafly, like people who glorify the 50s with descriptions of a time that never actually existed, they live in their own little fantasy worlds.

  27. ricko:

    I’m sure glad she had the Irish in there, I’ve got one of those names (O’Leary).

    On the other hand, my Mom (and older sister) are/were from Scotland and my father’s family came here after leaving Canada… So, while I’m all Irish, I’m not exactly “Irish”.

  28. Tsu Dho Nimh:

    And my ancestors said the same thing about Schlafly’s … filthy Germans who lived in enclaves and refused to learn English.

  29. democommie:

    “Schlafly’s Ignorance of History”

    It’s nice to know that Philledwithshit’s mis-eduacation is well rounded.

    “Funny, your ideological ancestors…”

    Wadafuggin’minit! She’s related to THAT guy?

    “Pope-Centric is also a Finnish breakfast cereal. (“Pope-Centric! Pope-Centric! It’s the cereals that’s made from eels!”)”

    I was never fond of the “Original recipe”, but I gotta admit that the NEW, Akaavit and lingonberry flavored stuff is to die for, or from.

    “And how would Schlafly answer the question “Are you American first or are you Christian first?”

    Well, either AmeriKKKristian or KristoMurKKKan**.

    * I did not say, “HITLER”!

    ** “AmerijudeoKKKristian” or judeoKKKristianMurKKKan during election cycles–gotta get those sheenie’s votes, y’know!

Leave a comment

You must be