Special report: Hospital owned and operated skilled nursing and intermediate care beds
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My parents, while not active in party politics were very politically conscious. Their political philosophy was quite simple. Roosevelt's Democrats walked on water; the Republicans were for the rich and against the poor (we, of course, were poor). To this day, over 43 years after leaving their house, I have a bit of trouble pulling the lever for a Republican candidate.
As I grew older I realized that their philosophy, which was generally shared by all in the neighborhood, created problems such as complacency and corruption. In our neighborhood the Boston police from Station # 9 made no effort to conceal what they were doing while they picked up their payoffs from the many bookie joints along Dudley Street. Whenever the state investigated a corrupt official or the very corrupt Boston Police Dept. my mother would say that it was just the Republicans taking their revenge on good Irish Catholics. Somehow she always knew that these good Irish Catholics went to mass every morning. The corruption and incompetence in front of her made no difference in her thinking.
Professor O'Connor's book helped me understand how my parents came to develop these political attitudes. Much of what he talked about still existed in the Boston Irish neighborhoods while I was growing up. I suspect to some extent it still does. I just finished reading "All Souls: A Family Story From Southie" by Michael Patrick McDonald. This is a very sad story which shows just how much the Irish Catholic's in South Boston have allowed their communities to degrade and allowed themselves to be snowed by their own Irish Catholic politicians.
If you have any interest in Boston political history or Irish American history you will love this book. I'm sure that the history of the Irish in Boston is similar to the Irish in most major US cities.
Some of the most fascinating elements of the book to readers will be the birth of the Kennedy dynasty in Boston, and indeed Massachusetts entire. And here it's also set in an even wider context — when the Irish first began coming to the city, as the dregs of its society. It took roughly a hundred years to begin to achieve prominence, then translated into power over the next (20th century).
A second and related area is the interplay of the Irish with their Brahmin rulers, whom they eventually supplanted. The story is told of Henry Cabot Lodge, running for the U.S. Senate in 1952 against a young John F. Kennedy. Lodge asked Joe McCarthy to endorse him. McCarthy, though earning his opprobrium nationally, was still extremely popular with the Boston Irish. But the blue-blooded Lodge would not publicly reach out to him, and McCarthy declined to endorse. JFK won election to the Senate — a political path that eventually led to the White House.
history class at Boston College in 1958 and it was because of him that I have had a lifelong love of the subject.
He had the ability to take a subject that might be drab or dull, and bring it to life! A wonderful teacher, a wonderful
historian, but most of all, a wonderful man!