The Gangs Of America | The Real John McClane The Gangs Of America – The Real John McClane

(This blog was originally published on October 4, 2016 – more relevant now – nearly two years later)

This xenophobic, anti-immigrant spirit that has crept across the breadth of our land is an ugly thing. When I was channel surfing one night, I came across a movie that all-too-well embodies this malignant fear and a violent spirit that is trying to grip large portions of our populace, including way too many Evangelicals who profess their first allegiance is to Christ…

Which also explains one of the reasons why some of this same populace is latching onto a thrice-married, multiple-bankrupted, I-make-my-money-off-of-the-greed-of-others, bellicose, saying ‘whatever floats your boat’ candidate for President of these United States – their version of the GREAT (speaking of making America GREAT again) _________ HOPE…

… Trump, the one who would build walls of protection for the American people just like an old-school pimp built castles of air for his stable of fawning streetwalkers… Really?? Do you believe that??

But, I digress. In the movie that I came across, “The Gangs of New York”, Daniel Day-Lewis does a masterful job of portraying the ‘Protestant gangsta’ of the Five Points, William ‘Bill the Butcher’ Cutting. Old Bill embodies much of the sentiment and ignorance that is currently prevalent in significant segments of our American society today.

This is one of the main reasons I find this movie so interesting, and so relevant for today, is that you have people that want to return America to some mythical, bygone, constricted idea of greatness, while some of THEM are part of the PROBLEM in the first place…

Not only do they want to separate themselves from people coming in from other lands, they REALLY want to separate themselves from their ‘brothers from another mother’ right here IN THE GOOD OL’ USA, which accounts for some the eruptions we have taking place in various parts of our country as we speak…

In the movie, Bill, being a Protestant ‘nativist’, had his issues with the Irish-Catholics coming from Ireland, who were escaping the crushing poverty of Ireland, pursuing the exact same opportunities that his forebears did when they came to America seeking a better life…

Wait a New York minute. Wasn’t that what America was all about in 1846? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Especially if you were white, male, and aspired to own land? Oh, that’s right, the Irish didn’t become ‘white’ until a few decades later…

And WHY are the VAST, VAST, MAJORITY of immigrants coming to the shores of America TODAY? Isn’t it for a better life? A pursuit of the promise that this land offers?

And, it’s not like good ‘ol Protestant Bill was himself a pillar of society, a paragon of virtue, or somebody with a semblance of nobility. On the contrary, in the movie, Bill was a flat-out THUG… Whether you watch the movie, read the book that was written in 1928, or read the newspaper excerpts from those times, the verdict is still the same – Bill was a thug as charged…

That’s right, our Bill the Butcher DID exist in real life- his actual name was William Poole, and he lived from 1821 to 1855 – he actually died (from being shot) BEFORE the Civil War began. Oh well, that’s artistic license for you…

Poole died on March 8, 1855 from a gunshot wound inflicted by a certain Mr. Baker. He died in his home on Christopher Street, leaving a wife and a son named Charles Poole. A local newsman reported his last words were, “Good-bye boys; I die a true American.” Which part was Bill referring to himself as a ‘true American’? The thug part, or the anti-Irish part? How about neither one?

Here is an excerpt from the newspaper article in 1855 re: ‘Bill the Butcher’s’ death:

“It must be regarded as providential dispensation that the gang of desperate ruffians which so long infested New York should, by their own acts, have relieved society from the terror of their presence in the future. One of them (Bill the Butcher) is dead… He was, however, but a primary election rum shop rowdy; a knock-down, gouging, biting, brutal savage, whose end is quite in accordance with his previous life.”

Bill met his expected, violent end. If we truly want America to be GREAT, God, at this present moment, is watching how we deal with the fatherless, the widow, and the STRANGER…


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