The latest U.S. census shows that 16 percent of the New York state population has Irish roots, making them the largest ethnic group in the state.
There are few ethnic groups as involved politically as the Irish, and few who used the political system as well to go from Famine immigrants to City Hall and eventually the White House.
It has always been apparent that the Clintons have a particular bond with Irish Americans, especially those who were active in seeking an end to The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Bill Clinton was the first president ever to take an active part in finding a solution and his success in approving the first U.S. visa for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, the Good Friday Agreement and sending Senator George Mitchell as his plenipotentiary to the North remains one of the most feel good stories of his entire two terms. But more important, it brought a fragile peace to a land that many thought they would never see.
Hillary Clinton was not found wanting either and created valuable links with grassroots organizations, especially working class women’s groups, as her major contribution, as well as jumping in as secretary of state when help was needed.
At our sister publication’s Irish America magazine’s Hall of Fame last year, Hillary Clinton reflected back on the difference she helped bring about.
“There is still work to be done but that remains a crucial lesson: You cannot bring peace and security to people just by signing an agreement. In fact more peace agreements don’t last,” she said.
“There’s been some very important work done in recent years that shows that where women are involved and, therefore, where the work of peace permeates down to kitchen table, to the backyard, to the neighborhood, around cups of tea, there’s a much better chance that an agreement will hold.”
She concluded that while “the work in the North is not finished, even as we speak negotiations to try to resolve governmental issues…it’s better to have people arguing about that than walking away and thinking that conflict may be the only answer.”
Hillary is also promising a compassionate and all encompassing approach to immigration reform which deeply impacts the 50,000 or so Irish undocumented.
After the Trump and Cruz hate speech America needs a healer, not a divider.
Having Hillary and Bill Clinton back in the White House would be a perfect scenario for the Irish American community which has embraced them since the Irish Americans for Clinton group was created in 1991.
But first there is the New York primary on Tuesday, April 19. For once New York is in a key position to decide the Democratic race.
Clinton’s Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders has proven a worthy and tough opponent. The Democratic primary has been conducted mainly on issues instead of the mud throwing, alligator wrestling, cockamamie Republican contest which is a national and international embarrassment.
Hillary Clinton will be the first to admit she does not match her husband’s brilliant oratory in speech making, but she has a fire in her eyes. She knows this is her last opportunity, win or lose, and she is throwing everything at it.
The White House will be hard won. The incredible achievement of electing an African American president eight years ago should be followed by another massive breakthrough in electing the first woman president.
But first there is a primary to negotiate. We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. It’s time, New York.