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Showing posts from July, 2021

A Culture of Denial in America

                        A Culture of Denial in America                    Gerry OShea In William Shakespeare’s celebrated play, Hamlet , the character of Horatio, representing science and reason as opposed to wild imaginings about late-night ghosts, was rebuked by Hamlet in memorable lines, “ There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Steve Bannon, guru of far-right politics in the United States, was making a similar point when he explained his central insight for achieving power in America: “People now move in tribes. Persuasion is highly-overrated.” The Republican hierarchy seems to follow the same line of thinking. Amazingly for a major political party, they did not promulgate a policy manifesto during last year’s national elections campaign. While they lost the presidency, they increased their numbers in the House of Representatives, suggesting that American voters were not particularly impressed by the detailed legislativ

The End of the Irish War of Independence

  The End of the Irish War of Independence 100 Years Ago     Gerry OShea The Irish War of Independence started in January 1919 when two policemen were killed in County Tipperary, and it ended with an agreed ceasefire between the British Government and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on July 12 th a hundred years ago. Only eighteen people died during the first year of the insurrection. No wonder that the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, viewed these sporadic attacks by Irish republicans as the actions of “murder gangs” that the police were well-equipped to handle. The November 1918 Westminster election was a major turning point in Irish history. The heroes of the Great War, (1914-1918), could not be excluded from casting a ballot in the general election, so the franchise was extended to all males over 21 and to most women past 30.  The new electorate in Ireland moved away from the traditional support for the Irish Parliamentary Party which had agitated for Home Rule, a par

The Transgender Community

  Transgenderism             Gerry OShea There has been a dramatic change in public attitudes to the gay lifestyle in the last seventy years. For example, in the 1950’s President Eisenhower declared that homosexuals were a danger to national security and so should not be employed by the Government. By comparison, in the Biden administration, Pete Buttigieg, a married gay man, was confirmed by the Senate for the important cabinet position of Transportation Secretary, and, indeed, he had been a serious contender for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.  Transgender people do not enjoy similar acceptance in the American community. They are viewed by many as eccentric freaks who upset the whole male-female binary sexual system by changing their functioning identity from male to female or vice versa. In July, 2017, President Trump tweeted “the United States will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. Military.” It was a bombshell announcement and G

Enlightenment and American Democracy

  Enlightenment and American Democracy           Gerry OShea The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously advised people that while they are entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. That statement should be posted on every public building in America because we are living in a time where all kinds of crackpot ideas with no connection to reality have been normalized and are part of our daily news and opinion programs. We think back to Galileo, a hero of the Renaissance period that stretched into the 17 th century. He was a serious scientist who, with help from his telescope, placed the sun is the center of the universe. This heliocentric thinking conflicted with Catholic Church teaching which, in those days, believed that the Bible claimed that everything revolved around the earth. Poor Galileo had to recant and he spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest. Early in this century, five hundred years later, Pope John Paul 11 apolo