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Showing posts from June, 2018

Immigration in America

Immigration Issues in AmericaGerry O'Shea
Emma Lazarus' famous poem on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor displaysan amazing American nationalmotif, unmatched by any other country. It articulates an open invitation to people from all over the world, beckoning them, irrespective of their circumstances, to become a part of the American experiment in democracy.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, your homeless, tempest - tossed to me.
Lazarus, a descendant of Sephardic Jews from Portugal, wrote these lines in 1883 at a time when the powerful Know-Nothing movement was in its pomp, especially in New York and Massachusetts. They preached hatred of all immigrants, in particular of the Irish who came to America in the 19th century in their hundreds of thousands to escape poverty and hunger.
The Know-Nothings, who wanted a country that, in their own words, stood for Temperance, Liberty and Pr…

The Magdalene Laundries - Where were the Christians?

The Magdalene Laundries - Where were the Christians?
Gerry O'Shea
Recently, 220formerMagdalenes were guests of Irish president, Michael D Higgins, at a gala dinner in Dublin. These women were invited by the Irish government which has admitted that grievous wrong was done to the 11,000 or so women who spent time in these Magdalene institutions from the foundation of the Irish State in 1922 until the last laundry was closed in 1996.
In his address to the women, President Higgins said that the way they were treated by successive Irish governments and by the four orders of nuns who ran the institutions "was a deep stain on Ireland's past."Steven O'Riordan, the producer of the powerful documentary, "The Hidden Maggies," went further; he was so impacted by the women's stories of maltreatment and denigration that he wrote that he was ashamed to identify himself as Irish.
The Magdalene Laundries or Asylums go back to the 18th century where they were used to re…

Socialism and Bernie Sanders

Democratic Socialism and Bernie SandersGerry O'Shea
Bernie Sanders is an anomaly in American politics. First elected as a congressman without major party affiliation in Vermont in 1990, hehas continued as an Independent, although he has always caucused with the Democrats. In 2012 he was re- elected to the Senate in his home state with an astonishing 71% of the votes cast.
He continues to define himself proudly as a democratic socialist, in line with the powerful Social Democratic parties in Europe, and he is running for re-election under that banner in November. He is the doyen of progressive causes in the US Congress: advocating for campaign finance reform, supporting parental leave and LGBT rights and opposing corporate welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy. However, his voting record in the senate is not much different from progressive senators like Sherrod Brown from Ohio, Jack Reed from Rhode Island or Kirsten Gillibrand from New York.
Sanders ran for the Democratic nomination …