Kiss Me I’m Irate

My friend Sandy sent me several hundred a dozen Marge cartoons this morning, but I don’t have one single drop of Irish blood in my veins.  Not one. 

 Growing up Catholic, I have known a few hundred Irish Americans, many of them priests, and I had much exposure to green beer and other delicacies from that culture like corned beef and cabbage.

When I worked on Capital Hill during Tip O’Neill’s reign as Speaker of the House, I knew many Irish men and women. I worked for a moderate Republican from Illinois on the staff of the Select Committee on Population where we had plenty of Democrats on staff. David Stockman (a Republican) was also on the Committee, but the Republicans were a minority. We held a hearings on fertility with one whole day dedicated to contraception. Later we had hearings on immigration. I will never forget the D-New York Congressman who asked a gal eight months pregnant what kind of contraception she was using. (She was there to talk about what happens if you don’t use contraception.) He was the same Democrat Congressman who told the Washington Post that the “US needed to seal the border.”

Most of the staffers worked for various Democrat congress persons from New York and Boston, and they were Irish-American, although some were Jewish or Greek American. Most, but not all, staff jobs were payment for work in political campaigns. After every election, if a staffer’s Congress person retired or left office owning to a lost election, he or she had to find a job with a new staff. A number of the staffers had been around Congress for many years moving from staff to staff. 

Because most of the staffers were Irish, Saint Patrick’s Day meant a lot of drinking.  The pubs near the Capitol Building would be over run by raucous party-goers. Green beer flowed like water.  After Happy Hour in the pubs, the crew would migrate to parties up and down Constitution. 

My Dutch great grand parents and grandmother would have fainted if they had known I was hanging out with Irishmen. When my Mom was young, her Mom tied a big orange ribbon in her hair on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Guess you know how they felt??  No, well let me tell you the story of the Battle of Boyne.

The photo at the left is Mom in her big orange bow on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1919.  (click to enlarge) Like most young girls, Mom was defiant of her family traditions and married a Catholic, although he was not Irish. I learned long ago, we don’t wear orange or green at our house.

14 thoughts on “Kiss Me I’m Irate

  1. Interesting history and account of your experience in D.C. Amazing what some of our Congressional representatives will say. Have no reason to think I’m Irish, but have wondered recently if I might be part of that illustrious Scot-Irish group.

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  2. No Irish influences here either, just Dutch and Polish and German.
    I am totally happy for everyone to celebrate their special days in any way they like, provided they don’t inconvenience me seriously. For all we see here in the village of it, St Patrick’s Day might as well not exist. We see plenty of Welsh leeks and lots of daffodils, though. This is St David’s country.

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  3. Not sure everyone wants to be Irish on Mar 17 or if it is just a good excuse to get bombed. Oddly, when I attended AA, alcoholism was refered to as the Irish Virus. Seems I had half of a genetic excuse.

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  4. Marge! That’s her name!

    This was interesting, especially the day on contraception. Coincidentally, I’ve just started reading Doonesbury and last week it was about hardline Republicans humiliating young women having abortions. The more things change…

    My great-great-grandparents came over to Liverpool from Ireland during the famine. In Britain, I’m of Irish descent; in South Africa, I was of English descent. Go figure.

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    • I don’t read Doonsebury and haven’t for years, too extreme for me. On the other hand, some Republicans have made complete fools of themselves over the abortion issue. Both parties Democrat and Republican have extreme elements, and I don’t like either. I am for smaller government and generally like state government, only that’s not working too well around here lately. Both Maryland and Virginia governments have gone off the deep end.

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  5. Love the cartoons. One of my favorite fictional and feisty elders! Around here it feels like everyone becomes Irish this time of year.

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  6. Never drank green beer. What’s it like?

    The most prominent Irish politician was JFK. With every sordid revelation about his extramarital affairs, he becomes creepier and creepier! Ugh!

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  7. Wow! I didn’t know about the Battle of Boyne. In fact, when you mentioned orange, I was thinking Netherlands.

    I guess that’s why it’s important to learn about history. I was writing to a blogger from Ireland and she said they didn’t eat corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. Now that was a surprise. Do you suppose they drink green beer in Ireland?

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