Ireland Stands for Equality

A storm had been brewing in the North Atlantic, but as of this weekend the clouds had passed over the Irish Sea. As is common with the nasty storms that come from the roiling sea, the landscape was left forever changed – softened, gentler, and deeply appreciative of the all too rare sun.

The storm that passed over Ireland was the debate on whether to enshrine Marriage Equity in the Constitution, a document that has weathered similar storms in the scant 78 years since it was adopted. This time, however, Ireland was changing not just to catch up with the times but to lead them. It’s worth discussing on both sides of the stormy Atlantic and around the world.

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Scenes from Childhood

My brother, Brad Hare, died this week from an apparent suicide. The news came like a ghost as my phone rang early in the morning as he had no contact with his family for the last 18 years. Depression clearly wracked his last years on this earth, but he made his passage slowly for reasons he never told us.

Though the grieving process started years ago, it is only fitting that I have some kind of wake. We are Celts, after all, a people who have raised suffering and depression to such an art form that we always find a way to celebrate it. This is an occasion to relate a few stories from our childhood together south of Miami in a world where craziness crackled through the air and condensed around us as reliably as a 3PM thunderstorm every languid summer day. It made us who we are, and in the end we are all nothing but stories like these.

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Guy Fawkes’ Day

The plotters are angry that their faith is persecuted and decide to strike back. Their plan is an outrageous act of terrorism, the destruction of the entire government in one big explosion. Fortunately, it is foiled in time but as news of the conspiracy leaks out the population is enraged. Soon, every member of this minority religious faith is viewed as a potential terrorist and things only go downhill from there.

If this sounds like today’s news, it isn’t. This is the story of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes led a Catholic group to plan the violent and public destruction of Protestant King James I and the entire Parliament. It reverberated through years of increased persecution of Catholics in England and all her colonies – including what became the United States.

And every year it is still celebrated on its anniversary, the Fifth of November, when Guy Fawkes is still burned in effigy in bonfires across the UK.

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St. Patrick’s Day

Good people go to Heaven, but the Celts went everywhere. There isn’t a corner of the globe where you can’t find us if you look hard enough. Nations as far flung as Canada and Australia are largely Celtic in origin, and the majority of those Celts came from Ireland.

Our people have wandered the earth like almost no other, and for one day we all return home with the help of a hyphen. Many of us become Irish-Americans or Irish-Canadians on Saint Patrick’s day when any other day American or Canadian would be enough. We drink up well in pubs, cheer on the bagpipers, and think back to what our ancestors must have gone through to get us where we are.

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St Patrick’s Day

This piece is a repeat from three years ago – I don’t have anything to add.  The re-run gives me more time to enjoy the day.  Sláinte!

Good people go to Heaven, but the Celts went everywhere. There isn’t a corner of the globe where you can’t find us if you look hard enough. Nations as far flung as Canada and Australia are largely Celtic in origin, and the majority of those Celts came from Ireland.

Our people have wandered the earth like almost no other, and for one day we all return home with the help of a hyphen. Many of us become Irish-Americans or Irish-Canadians on Saint Patrick’s day when any other day American or Canadian would be enough. We drink up well in pubs, cheer on the bagpipers, and think back to what our ancestors must have gone through to get us where we are.

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Another Pledge Drive!

It’s Pledge Drive time at Minnesota Public Radio!   That means one thing to me – I better get my own Pledge Drive in while I can.  It’s been two years since I tried an in-blog pledge drive, and the results were mixed. But I have to try again.

Welcome to another Barataria in-blog Pledge Drive!  There’s a survey at the end where you can tell me just what you think anonymously and easily, whether you give or not.

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This is Halloween!

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see,
This our town of Halloween!

– From “A Nightmare Before Christmas” by Tim Burton

Halloween is one of those things that’s pretty obvious.  It’s a spooky time of year when everything seems a little depressing – why not make it fun?  Yet any history of the holiday starts with ancient Celts and Romans and winds up … not entirely making sense.  How do we get from religious celebration to gorging ourselves on sugar?

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