Everybody’s just a wee bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. To the wail of bagpipes and the sloshing of green beer, politicians jab and poke fun, all in the spirit of the day, which has become a political holiday.
Yesterday, at Salem’s 25th annual Ganley luncheon, there were fewer zings than might be expected since guests included Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan and GOP almost-announced U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown.
Hassan, the keynote speaker, had the floor by invitation. Brown, who didn’t speak from the front of the room, apparently included the luncheon on his “Main Streets and Living Rooms” listening tour of the Granite State.
The governor welcomed him with this: “It’s good to be here in Salem, N.H., straddling the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts — but enough about Scott Brown.”
The jab drew laughter and applause, a nod to Brown’s recent move from the Bay State to his home in Rye. He got off easy.
In Lawrence last week, the newly elected Dominican-Amerian mayor was the recipient of a shillelagh and a shiny green T-shirt, emblazoned with his title for the holiday, “Mayor Daniel O’Rivera.”
But the celebration of what was long a politician’s holiday was a little bit off this year. St. Patrick’s mitre was slightly askew and the shamrocks a little bedraggled.
Parades in Boston and New York City were notable for who didn’t march as much as for who did.
Blame equal rights.
The first state to recognize gay marriage turned a little green around the gills when the nation turned its eyes to the messy negotiations between MassEquality, a statewide gay rights group, and the Allied War Veterans Council that organizes the parade in South Boston.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh did his best to help the two groups reach an understanding and allow openly gay veterans to participate in the boisterous event. That effort failed and Walsh, along with many other Bay State politicos, sat this one out.