Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2020

Reflections on Ireland in the 19th Century

Reflections on Ireland in 19 th Century            Gerry OShea Many historians believe that the century beginning in 1800, just after the American and French revolutions, inaugurated the era of modern history worldwide, and it certainly ushered in a momentous epoch in Ireland. It started with the British government closing down Grattan’s parliament(1782-1800) in Dublin and taking full control in Westminster of all legislation for the country. Daniel O’Connell dominated Irish politics like a colossus for the first half of the century. His signature achievement, Catholic Emancipation in 1829, which allowed Catholics to serve in parliament, can be seen as the final nail in the penal laws which kept the Irish in thrall for the previous hundred years. Only substantial landowners could vote in Westminster elections but the powerful and exuberant O’Connell was elected to parliament, and he became one of the dominant figures in London politics, highlighting not only the grievances o

The Main Issues in the Presidential Election

In Jonathan Haidt’s best-selling book, The Happiness Hypothesis , he presents an interesting metaphor, explaining human behavior in terms of an imaginary elephant and its human rider. The big animal represents the emotional and instinctual drives in every human being while the much smaller rider symbolizes a person’s rational side which incorporates planning and intellectual activity. The contrary elephant often resists the urgings of the person on his back and indeed his animal preferences frequently prevail. The suggestion in this comparison is that our actions are driven much more by raw emotions and family culture than by calm reason. Rationality plays its part, but mostly a lesser role than we like to admit in our decision-making. Applying this thinking to our current political situation, we can safely say that 40% of voters will support President Trump in November with approximately the same number guaranteed to show up for Joe Biden. All recent polls support this p

The Prosperity Gospel

The Prosperity Gospel                     Gerry OShea About five years ago I was invited to play golf with a priest from my home county, Kerry. He was working as a missionary in Maracaibo in Venezuela, and he was spending a few days in New York before going on to Ireland for a vacation. We played in the State Championship Course off route 9W in Rockland County, and afterwards we stopped for a meal and a few drinks in Kennelly’s Bar, close to the exit from the course. The conversation was lively because we shared a strong interest in Irish games with a special affinity for Kerry football. He told me about his work and his life as a missionary in Venezuela.   I was surprised when he related that his most challenging assignment involved advising the local Catholic charismatic organization. He explained that without direction they could easily veer into elitist thinking, convinced that their special relationship with the Holy Spirit would bring all kinds of benefits, includin

Change in America in June 2020

Change in America              Gerry OShea The death of George Floyd in Mineapolis from torture inflicted in broad daylight has led to days of protest all over the country and beyond. The event was filmed by a brave young woman who stood her ground close to the location to capture a clear video showing a manacled Mr. Floyd on the ground pleading with a policeman who had his knee on his neck that he was choking from lack of air. The torture scene lasted close to nine minutes before the prisoner expired on the street. The horror video told the story very clearly of a prisoner in custody being tortured, and the response was an outcry of shock and disbelief from people all over America. The community feeling of revulsion brought to mind a line from an Irish rebel song, “the wailing cry went up to very heaven.” A few weeks previously we learned about another black man, Ahmoud Arbery, being mowed down in Brunswick, Georgia while he was out jogging. This happened a few months ea