Sometimes the items falling into my in-box are totally random and unconnected. Sometimes they fit together very nicely. Then, there are the times they fit together in a random and unconnected sort of way.
I moved to Boston, from Upstate New York, when the Governor was a King. I only vaguely remember who the mayor was, but there was another King running for that office … Mel King, an African American activist and against him, Ray Flynn, a home boy Irish politician. Sorry about the Ethnic Labels, but this is, after all Saint Patrick’s day, and by the time I’m done with this post you’ll see a lot more ethnicity, trust me.
Mel King was great, so was Ray. I was really undecided who to vote for, and frankly, I had a hard time assimilating all the information I might use in making such a decision, what being very busy with my new job and all. In fact, I was so busy with my new job that it took some time to occur to me that I did not actually live in Boston, per se, and thus, I didn’t really get to vote for anyone!!!
It turns out that Flynn beat King by a few votes and became mayor. (Oh, and the King who was governor … different guy entirely, and he was handily voted out of office and replaced by Mike Dukakis II… Oh, by the way, I’m probably compressing about 2 years into one, these elections were at different times … plus, of course, the Mayor of Boston is picked in the primary, not the general election. and so on… )
So, why am I going on and on about this? Well, up to this time, there had been a lot of arguing and bellyaching about whether or not there could be a gay group (with a float, as I recall) in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston. One gets the feeling that Saint Patrick’s Day, and indeed, Irishism in general, was actually invented in Boston, and the country of Ireland and all that other Irish stuff was made up later as a backdrop for Southy and Dorchester.
Well, now Boston had a new Mayor, a good ol’ boy Irishman (Ray Flynn), and he would oversee the St. Paddy’s day parade and work out any conflicts. I think many assumed he would find yet another way to make sure the gay-boys did not get too much publicity when they tried to push their sissy float into the parade lineup.
Indeed, Flynn did an excellent job of eliminating controversy about the gay float in the St. Patrick’s day parade. When the group applied to be in the parade, he stepped in and approved their application, and informed the city employees and the press that there would be no further discussion. He used words such as “Saint Patrick’s Day Is For Everyone. This is Boston.”
That was cool.
Now, decades later, one would assume that Flynn’s seminal decision would buttress gay equality in all the other city parades at least in the Liberal Northeast, and by now, this would no longer be an issue. But you know that is not what has happened. Indeed, this country has become, in many ways, more conservative than it was in the 1980s, and more explicitly anti-gay as well.
Indeed, in neighboring New York State,
…There were no pink shamrocks again this year at New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Members of an Irish gay organization remained barred from taking part in the annual parade down Fifth Avenue.
As in past years gays were relegated to a barricaded area along the route where they were allowed to protest against the Ancient Order of Hibernians which organizes the parade.
As I recall, the Hibernians scrambled back in those bad old days in Boston to try to buy off the St. Patrick’s day parade. They had been involved, but it was a city event, and Flynn made sure that the Hibernians did not get to take over the parade and make it a private affair.
One has to wonder where Giuliani and Bloomberg have been all these years …. allowing what is effectively a National Holiday be taken over by a band of yahoos pretending to be a private non-profit men’s club, or whatever the Hibernians are calling themselves these days. Perhaps the situation is just too complex….
In the early 1990s, the parade committee used the argument to defeat a discrimination claim brought by the NYC Human Rights Commission.
A federal judge ruled that the organization could bar the gay group on the grounds of religious freedom.
But the Archdiocese of New York, in an unrelated statement pertaining to Holy Week, recently issued a statement that it views the NYC St. Patrick’s parade as a purely civic event.
“Irish queers into the Irish parade!” the protestors chanted. And they attacked members of the New York City Police, Fire and EMT for marching in their uniforms.
“If gays can’t march, cops can’t either,” the protesters yelled.
But really, all this talk about New York is just a segue to the latest interesting news from The Empire State. Even as the dying breed of self righteous gay bashing yahoos that call themselves Irishmen in the City of New York are parading around with their Leprechauns, the State of New York has installed its first African American Governor. Pro-gay David Peterson was sworn in today, replacing the departed Elliot Spitzer.
Spitzer, of course, was removed from office owing to the scandalous nature of his association with a very overpriced prostitute.
But wait, there’s more. New York is neighbor to the Garden State, a.k.a. New Jersey. New Jersey and New York have an uneasy sometimes good, sometimes not so good relationship, and a bit if a rivalry. The rivalry really started to heat up back in the Colonial Era when the two colonies fought over who owned Staten Island. The issue was decided by a boat race around the Island. The names of the two boats were the Apocrypha and the Mythus Urbana. I guess New Jersey won, because Staten Island has been part of New York ever since. (…bdumbum..)
Anyway, not to be outdone by New York’s latest scandal, Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey reacted to reports that he and his wife engaged in threesome-like activities with one of McGreevey’s male assistants. McGreevey’s estranged wife had already responded to these reports, calling them ridiculous.
McGreevey, for his part, claimed that yes, there was a threesome.
The McGreeveys are reported to be in the midsts of an acrimonious divorce. I suspect things just got worse.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.