As it happens, their fears were occasionally correct. Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot were, in point of fact, Catholic terrorists, seeking to blow up Parliament and assassinate the King. Does this justify the oppression of all the other "non-conformists," over more than two centuries? Cruz, Bush, and the rest of the Republican leadership would seem to agree that it does. The Founding Fathers thought otherwise, and took action to prevent such oppression. Or so they hoped.
The US has failed to uphold these values before. The exclusion of the Chinese, the internment of the Japanese, and hostility toward the Irish, Italians, and any number of other ethnic groups bear witness to our past failures to live up to our own promise. Even today, clownish demagogues such as Donald Trump still clamor to wall off the entire southern border of the US. Such idiots we will always have with us.
But for the leadership of a major political party, this far into the Twenty-first century, to give voice to such intolerance, and to so blatantly disregard the founding values of this nation, is not only shocking: it's an embarassment and a betrayal.
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