Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

March 2010

True, not everyone is Irish, but my brother, who, as a youngster, looked like our Spanish grandfather with brown eyes and dark complexion, was born on St. Paddy’s Day. We always wore green to celebrate the day and I, with my spectacular blue eyes, was always considered Irish. Fair enough. But neither of us could ever find a pub in Ireland where the natives thought they were our long-lost cousins.

Oh, well. It’s no sin to be just an American, is it?

It’s very American, I’d say, to not only wear green on the 17th but also march in a parade and have corned beef and cabbage afterward washed down with a Guinness or pint of Smithwick’s. I’ve been invited to do just that by the Southwest Florida Boston College Alumni Club.

Boston College, for you political buffs, is making  a big deal — or, perhaps, a pretty big deal — about the fact that now both Massachusetts senators are BC alums. Both John Kerry and Scott Brown went to Boston College Law School. Politics is (are?) no stranger to the law school. Father Robert Drinan, S.J., was its dean and a congressman for five terms, ending when the Pope wanted priests and nuns out of government.

According to a Washington Post article published as a remembrance of Drinan after his death in 2007, conservative Catholics William Buckley, Robert Bennett, and Pat Buchanan had urged Pope John Paul to rein in the priest for being “a dangerous liberal.”

The Jesuit priest obeyed John Paul II, not only leaving Congress but also getting out of politics entirely. He returned to teaching at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Two interesting facts about Drinan’s career in politics. Although he served five terms, he started in the 3rd district and finished in the 4th. If you’re familiar with the term “gerrymander,” you might check out the Massachusetts 4th district. It was represented by Republican Margaret Heckler (later Reagan’s ambassador to Ireland) as a “silk-stocking” district made up of the Newtons, Needham, and Wellesley, but was redrawn to include the “blue collar” Brockton down to Taunton. It probably takes Rep. Barney Frank — Drinan’s successor — almost as long to drive around his district as it takes Peter Welch to drive around his.

Well, at least the Pope got rid of that dangerous liberal. 

For whatever it’s worth, the head of the Southwest Florida BC Alumni Club setting up the St. Paddy’s day parade and party is Adam Waszkowski.

I repeat, it’s no sin to be just an American, is it?