I come from an Irish family. When I say that I mean I have aunts and uncles born in Ireland, not that we’ve been here in the United States since the first potato famine. For all of that I am not one to engage in tribalism. I am proud of my Irish heritage, but it does nothing to blind me to the actions of those who would engage in terrorism in the name of liberty.
I have no truck with the I.R.A and not amount of family history about how this great-grand-father or that great cousin was hanged by the British is going to get me to say otherwise. But that is not always the case for everyone, especially a politician of no conscience like Rep. Steve King of New York.
Today Rep. King got a bit of comeuppance as he testified before the British Parliament about the radicalization of immigrants. Rep. King has been holding hearings (witch hunts) about the possible radicalization of American Muslims. This is the worst kind of fear mongering but he is the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and he can hold hearing about whatever he likes.
As far as any can find this is the very first time that a sitting United States Representative has ever testified to the British Parliament. Rep. King got to add his particular brand of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim hysteria to the mix in England, but it did not come without a cost for the Republican.
You see Peter King has been a major apologist for the I.R.A. for a very long time. Today he was put on the hot seat by the committee about his vocal and hypocritical support for Irish terrorists, while treating every Muslim like a terrorist.
He was asked by Labor MP David Winnik about some of his more over the top quotes. In particular he was asked if he stood by his 1985 statement saying:
If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it.
“I stand by it in the context of when it was said
He then went on to blather about injustice and how as an Irish American he felt that those injustices gave some kind of moral justification for the acts. What he did not do was ever condemn the acts of the I.R.A. nor express any regrets for the deaths.
This is flatly unacceptable. It is one thing to understand that an oppressed people may act out violently, it is quite another to give cover for it. Terrorism is either never acceptable or it is a legitimate act, it can’t be one for a group of people you have a heritage with and not acceptable for another group you share no background with.
I will most certainly piss off some of my extended family when I say that there is no exception for the actions of the I.R.A, they were terrorist thugs who killed and spread misery for political purposes. Regardless of the history, any group who does that is beyond the pale. But then again so is Peter King. He is the kind of American Irishman that makes me ashamed of having that title as well.
The history of the Emerald Isle is one that is drenched in blood. If there is to be any good at all from it, then we must learn that it was all wasted blood. Violence will settle things, but it never finishes them. That is the sole province of respect and equality.
Peter King got exactly what was coming to him in that committee room. Here is a wish that he starts to get it here as well.
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours.