Monday, May 4, 2009


Two notable passings of patriots and champions of freedom on May 3rd.

The first, the death of Patrick Henry Pearse, occured ignominiously, effected by a British firing squad in the courtyard of Dublin's Kilmainham jail on May 3rd of 1916.

The other occured this past Saturday evening as Jack Kemp expired in more sedate circumstances attended by family and friends in his Bethesda, Maryland home.

I met Jack Kemp on the set of a television interview, some years back. His energy and exuberance was palpable, almost infectious.

He exuded genuine excitement while expounding his plans for a major lightening of the tax burden on the American people and the creation of a genuine opportunity society, based on the strictures of Milton Friedman and his collegues of the Chicago School of economics.

To the great amazement of many in Washington and elsewhere he managed to push thru his comprehensive tax abatement plan over the objections of the soon-to-be-felonious, powerful, Chicago Congressman, Dan Rostenkowski.

The Kemp-Roth tax cuts led to one of the longest sustained periods of economic growth in American history. It was perhaps his proudest acheivement.

Jack Kemp entered Congress in the class of 1970 along with such notorious characters as Bella Abzug, the hellish, harpie feminist (best remembered for the bigness of her hats, mouth and buttocks) and the absurd, afro-centric, avowed neo-Marxist, Ron Dellums.

Both are little more than curious footnotes in American history, now.

Jack Kemp will be remembered as a towering champion of personal liberty.

Patrick Henry Pearse was the Irish poet, Gaelic scholar-educator, and visionary leader of the abortive 1916 Easter rebellion against the British occupiers.

He was the influential teacher, who numbered among his students, James Joyce. He wrote and orated the stirring Proclamation of the Irish Republic from the steps of the Dublin Post Office, which his rebels, armed more with zeal than effective weaponry, had seized on Easter Monday of 1916.

When the British began indiscriminately bombarding civilian areas of Dublin (they seemed to have had little regard for the notion of collateral damage) Pearse called a halt to the uprising.

He is today commemerated on Irish coinage, in statuary scattered throughout the Irish Republic, in a famous poem by WB Yeats and in song:

The poet and the Irish rebel
The Gaelic scholar and the visionary.
To him we gave no fitting tribute
When Ireland's at peace
only that can be
When Ireland's a nation united and free.

May 3rd: A day for rememberance of two great freedom fighters.
Two great visionaries.