Posted By: November 11, 2020


“Racism and sectarianism—the twin evils of this world.”

This is the truth I have been proclaiming all my life.

It is, quite simply, another way of saying love of God and love of neighbor are the Twin Commandments, as explained and exemplified by Jesus Christ—son of God and son of Holy Mary of Nazareth.

The Twin Evils—in effect and consequences—are the structural, institutionalized, political, economic, and social way love of neighbor is denied. They are, as Saint Pope John Paul II, teaches the “structures of sin.”

In the Ireland context and history, racism means anti-Irish and sectarianism means ant-Catholicism. In the United States, of course, color is the “social marker.” But the function of both racism and sectarianism is about one thing: excluding some (“the other”) from equality and power, whether they be Blacks, Jews, Catholics ( all three the historic and current targets of the KKK ), Muslims, etc., etc.

Social justice is love of neighbor, organized and implemented in the neighborhood (very apt word in this context), in the community, the country, and in the world. And we know —at least we are supposed to believe—that without love of neighbor there is no love of God.

Indeed, the Gospel puts it even stronger: “If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

 And Jesus Christ makes the connection with extraordinary and mind-blowing explicitness: “In so far as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me…(Matthew 25:40). Here “the least” includes the most marginalized, the most disrespected, excluded, neglected, demonized, etc., etc.). Here, Jesus Christ totally and unconditionally identifies Himself with humanity, especially with the poor. Hence, the Catholic Church teaching on the “preferential option for the poor.”

For myself, I summarize all that as “I will always support the under-dog. I will always support the poor and oppressed everywhere and anywhere in the world.” That, of course, does not mean I will support every act they may do, because the poor and oppressed can do bad things, too.

Has Donald Trump—at any time in his life, and particularly as president—ever given the slightest indication he represents these values? I know he claims to be opposed to abortion, but is that a principled moral stance or just cynical political expediency? Indeed, it must be remembered that, in general, the White Evangelical shift from having no position on abortion to the Catholic anti-abortion position was deeply cynical and about a right-wing power-grab. White Evangelical Protestants generally ignored abortion until the late 1970s, even though the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.

 In fact, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention welcomed the ruling as advancing “religious liberty.” That was an obviously snide anti-Catholic attack as the Catholic Church was the only major Church totally opposed to abortion… And, of course, all good white Southern Baptists knew that “them Catholics did not believe in American freedoms”—one of the oldest anti-Catholic tropes, along with, of course, Blacks needed to be enslaved for their own good. England’s two-fold gift to America, it must always be remembered, was slavery and vicious, mendacious anti-Catholicism.

American experts point out the real reason for the remarkable “conversion” of the White Right Wing. The respected Bill Moyers, for instance, states: “Conventional wisdom holds that the rise of the religious right as a political force to be reckoned with during the 1970s and 1980s was driven by conservative Christians’ intense opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. But Dartmouth College’s Randall Balmer writes that ‘the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny.’ He notes that ‘it wasn’t until 1979 — a full six years after Roe — that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion, not for moral reasons, but …. because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.’” (Ironically, I knew the late Weyrich, who was strongly in favor of Ireland’s liberation from England).

Now back to Trump’s claim to be concerned for human life… After all, it has been documented by the Washington Post that as president he has already told over 25,000 false claims… So, he has forfeited all credibility and right to be believed on anything).

I still believe—certainly, I want to hope—that the “famine gene” still runs strongly in Irish-Americans…That they still have a “preferential option for the poor”: for the exile, the immigrant, the starving— “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

I have a saying that applies in this context: ‘’For an Irish-American to be opposed to immigrants would be like a Black person supporting slavery.” In other words, a total and shocking contradiction and betrayal.

When I first came to America on October 2, 1972, (every Irish immigrant remembers  the exact date they came to America), I was aware of some of the obvious problems still extant but believed that there was a real desire to fix them and “create a more perfect union.” It never occurred to me to be worried about the future of American greatness, internally or externally. But now after four years of enduring Trump’s narcissism, iconoclasms, and rampages, I was profoundly worried that if given another four years, he would do irreparable harm to America at home and abroad. He has assaulted all basic American institutions, norms, decency, and fairness. He has embarrassed and humiliated America before the world. Indeed, according to some respected writers, he has made America a country to be pitied, instead of respected, loved, and admired.

And as far as “draining the swamp,” well, Mother of God, he carries his own personal swamp around with him.

Last, but by no means least, the deadly plague of COVID-19.

Trump, with extraordinary incompetence, shocking cruelty, and blatant disregard for human life has stood idly by refusing to use the powerful resources of the federal government to control the pandemic. Initially, one of the good points I was prepared to give Trump was that he did not appear to want to invade other countries and start endless wars, like the British Empire, killing hundreds of thousands of foreigners. … What I did not foresee was that he was prepared to allow over 230,000 Americans to be exterminated by COVID-19.

If a foreign leader—especially if he were Black and an enemy of the United States—acted like that, some would be saying it was genocide by neglect. … Just like how England —the richest and most powerful country in the world at the time —allowed over one million Irish to die of starvation in The Famine (1844-1849), while England stole, hoarded, and exported an abundance of Irish food.

Finally, Joe Biden is a good, decent man and an experienced leader… And he’s not Trump … And he is a good friend of solidarity, fairness, justice, and peace in Ireland.