For all those whining about two white Irish Catholic guys advancing to the Boston mayoral final, it might be helpful to listen to Dr. King’s speech, the 50th anniversary of which was just commemorated, and what he had to say about not judging people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Defining Marty Walsh and John Connolly as Irish pols is like defining the great and recently departed Seamus Heaney as an Irish poet. It’s accurate, but misleadingly narrow.
Connolly is as comfortable in Roxbury as he is in his native West Roxbury. Walsh has used his position in labor to open doors for women and minorities, not to hoard jobs for white guys who pray at red brick churches.
The Irish have long memories. Too long, sometimes. But the best of the Irish remember that every disparaging and racist thing said today about the newest arrivals in Boston was said about the Irish when they first got here. Walsh and Connolly get that.
Boston’s mayoral race is not a classically Irish political battle. For that, you need to head north to Lawrence, the poorest city in the state and one of the poorest in the country, where James Michael Curley has been reincarnated in the form of Mayor Willie Lantigua.
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