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Showing posts from October, 2020

Random Pre - Election Ruminations

  Random Pre-Election Ruminations                  Gerry OShea We are coming to the end of an election cycle that has engrossed the whole country. Thousands of people waiting in line for up to ten hours just to cast a ballot speak volumes about the high level of engagement in a leadership choice between two white candidates well advanced in their 70’s. It will be over in a few weeks but, in truth, we are not sure of that because, amazingly, the man who is well behind in nearly all the polls says that there can only be one winner - excluding his opponent. The following are some random reflections on happenings since Donald Trump took over the White House in January 2017. Remember the amazing Michael Avenatti. We met him first as Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, advocating for her outside the courthouse where she sued President Trump about hush money payments made by the president to keep their alleged affair quiet. He became a regular commentator on CNN where his keen mind and cogent c

The Catholic Vote

  The Catholic Vote                           Gerry OShea Speaking at an event co-sponsored by Boston College and St. Anselm College on September 15 th , Cardinal Joseph Tobin from the Newark diocese declared that he had no moral problem with people voting for former vice-president Joe Biden in the November election, and he went on to say “I frankly have a more difficult time with the other option.” The cardinal’s misgivings are due mainly to President Trump’s restoration of the death penalty in clear opposition to Catholic social teaching as well as his dismissal of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ signature encyclical, on protecting the environment. Tobin also identifies with the pope’s statement of disgust at the maltreatment of immigrant children on the southern border with Mexico: “A person who thinks only about building walls and not bridges is not a Christian.” However, a strong body of opinion among the church prelates disagrees with Tobin’s view and, focusing instead on the pos

Women and the Irish Revolution

  Women and the Irish Revolution          Gerry OShea In 1893 New Zealand was the first self-governing country to allow   women over age 21 to vote. The suffragist agitation was a major issue in many countries and a dominant theme in British life at the turn of the twentieth century, but it wasn’t until the 1918 election that women over 30 were allowed to cast a ballot in a general election. Men over 21 were also enfranchised by the same 1918 Act of Parliament in Westminster. Irish women played an important part in the movement for change led by Anna Haslan who, when she was 90 years old in 1918, cast her first vote in a general election in Dublin. She and many of the Irish suffragist leaders were from establishment Unionist families, but Anna’s achievement in voting at a late age after a long struggle was loudly cheered by nationalist leaders in Westminster as well as by Sinn Fein. The Ladies’ Land League (LLL) was set up in January 1881 at the behest of Michael Davitt, the comm

Election Questions for Republicans

  Election Questions for Republicans           Gerry OShea There are a few perplexing aspects of President Trump’s plans for re-election that make no sense to many political observers. It is difficult to understand how the president and his re-election team have failed to deal with some core issues and strategies of the campaign. We are not talking about the President changing his views on the prevalence of racism in America or the Black Lives Matter movement, nor are we focusing on his adherence to the discredited trickle-down theory of economic development. Those policies and perspectives are part of the Republican brand for decades. Instead we are questioning their response in areas that are largely non-ideological. The coronavirus epidemic emerged last February with President Trump dismissing the issue as a passing problem and thanking President Xi for his leadership in combating it. However, as the situation worsened in the early months – February and March – he supported