Dark shadows and bright lights rushed by the bus window as I stared into heart of Dublin on my last night in Ireland.
The history of this wondrous land of my grandfather’s birth pounded in my brain. War and poverty had forged great strength and belief in freedom in the Irish people. Nowadays, though, greed and corruption reminded me more of my America than Big Jim’s land of long ago.
Elected officials and their lackey business conspirators are being rounded up in Dublin for a variety of crimes related to industrial development. Bribes, kickbacks and
cronyism have reduced the once great “Celtic Tiger” into a mangy alley cat prowling the dimly lit lanes of a country about to implode economically. Liars rather than leaders with clear vision rule this beautiful and bitter island that they have crashed into the sacred ground.
With these thoughts in mind I suddenly saw a pub on the left side of the road. I felt a chill as I saw the proprietor’s name above the door as the wail of the banshee filled my ears.
Despite all the modern technological progress of the Irish, legend and superstition still abound. The banshee comes in many forms, keening for the dead, the lost and the forgotten as she torches reality with her fierce fairy fire.
During my trip to Ireland last week I thought very little about politics at home. But on Friday night the banshee quickly brought me face to face with a dreadful image of home sweet home.
The sign above the pub - Marino’s – sent me careening back across a vast ocean to where the worst congressional candidate in the United States awaited my return. In my now warped mind, Republican Tom Marino’s face hovered like a bad dream above the doorway to the pub. And, as I shivered and thought about the recklessly flawed congressional candidate in the 10th Congressional District, the banshee wound up and hammered me again.
A few doors from the pub, a pharmacy’s lights flashed the name of the proprietor in the glass window.
“Marino” was that name.
Again the banshee wailed.
So long to St. Pat.
Hello to the fallen angels of home.
Home is where the heartless live and Marino is, indeed, heartless in his deeply dishonest bid for one of the highest offices in the land. I have exposed and detailed his severe character flaws in column after column as Marino, in his quest for power, grew increasingly bizarre. Voters would do better to elect the banshee than Marino because, as primitive and raw as the keen of the banshee is, at least the banshee is honest. If voters elect Marino to Congress, the most drastic lessons of the ongoing federal public corruption probe will be lost, cast into black bogs of the underworld where even the strongest fairies fear to tread.
Last night, once again safely ensconced in Scranton, I smiled and took comfort in being home. About 150 excited kiddies had come to the door trick or treating in a celebration of a sacred pagan ritual that commemorated the changing of the seasons in ancient Celtic Ireland.
All was well as I turned out the porch light when I ran out of candy and chips. At almost 9 o’clock, though, I turned the light back on to hopefully deter vandals who might wander the streets with evil intentions in their wee minds. Minutes later, somebody rang the doorbell. I stayed put in the kitchen, sipping my wine and waiting for them to go away. A good night had ended. The small children for whom the holiday is intended had gone home to bed. Only wayward spirits were out that late.
The crash brought me to my feet. Rushing to the foyer, I opened the heavy wooden front door and saw that someone had kicked in the bottom of the screen door, detaching the thin metal square from its frame.
By the time I hit the porch, a tribe of about seven teenage girls were squealing and laughing and heading west on East Gibson Street. I yelled that the cops were on the way as I grabbed the phone and called 911.
Five squad cars and a dog eventually showed up. The officer in charge was efficient and polite. He asked my name, height, weight, hair and eye color as well as my social security number. He gave me his card.
After thanking him, I went back to my kitchen, my wine and my thoughts about what is right and what is wrong in this world. Tossing the cop’s card on the table, I suddenly felt the shiver and once again heard the banshee wail.
Etched on the business card, the officer’s name stood out like the ruin of a castle in an Irish field.
Was this yet another bad omen? Was this a warning that if people disregard the past they are doomed to repeat it? Was this a sign that good people must fight back against the wanton evil of opportunistic blaggards who want public office for themselves and their felonious friends rather than for you and your belief in restoring and upholding the public trust?
Ah, that looks to be the case.
That’s why I’m sharing with you a grand gift I brought home from the ould sod, a sparkling offering drawn from the great culture of Irish wisdom. The gift is better than Waterford crystal and Connemara marble put together. My gift will protect us from demons of democracy dancing the dance of deceit and calling it a happy jig.
The gift is integrity.
Without honor we’re doomed.
Reject the corruption or be cursed.
Vote Democrat Chris Carney for Congress - or hear the banshee’s wail for yourself.