6 min readAug 1, 2022


William A. Gralnick

It was the late 60’s into the early 70s. The heat was withering, the crops were dying, the inflation was soaring, and banks were doing a land office business foreclosing on farms that had been in families for generations. The owners saw themselves as the providers of food served at America’s tables. Along with lost business came lost pride. Along with lost pride came anger. Along with anger came the receptivity to what then was considered very bizarre philosophies.

The Ku Klux Klan was making hay with soaring memberships and increased organization and activity. A white woman had been murdered. The suspect was black. The rush to judgment was jet-fighter swift. It was only until it was too late that authorities stumbled across a twin brother. He did it. During the miscarriage of justice, the Klan organized the largest gathering since the 20’s replete with costumes and cross-burnings.

Somewhere there was a pile of kindle that set this whole thing ablaze. ABC News sent Geraldo Rivera, then a rising news figure into the volcano to assess why it was about to explode. What Rivera discovered was something called, “The Christian Identity Church.” In its pews were the proponents of Christian Nationalism. In a nutshell, if America would get busy recreating its heritage and become a truly Christian nation all would be well. Of course, America had never been a “Christian” nation. The seeds of “if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it, especially desperate people” were scattered around the farm belt.

But were these extremist geniuses smart enough to concoct this philosophy? Of course not. They had stepping stones. In the 1850’s there came into the political fray a party with a most apt moniker, The Know Nothing Party. Truth. The bedrock of this cesspool was Christianity (Protestant) and nationalism.. They planned a whopper of an eye-opening caper at the Washington Monument. The monument had been stalled by a lack of money due to fraud. Around the stump that had risen about a third of the eventual height were blocks of marble, inscribed goodwill gifts from nations far and wide. These blocks, there today, were to line the interior of the Monument to be seen by those who climbed to the top. The “KN’s” pulled up driving wagons. They put as many of these blocks as they could on the flatbeds. Mind you each block weighed hundreds and hundreds of pounds. They took them to the Potomac River, smashed them, and…


Bill Gralnick, born in Brooklyn, has written over 900 op ed columns for newspapers and magazines over his 45 year career. He has published three books.