An Irish-American’s Toast To America

Brian Brady Brian Brady 1 Comment

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The late Princess Grace Rainier of Monaco’s father, champion oarsman, businessman and Democratic politician John B. Kelly, offered this speech to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St Patrick for their 1935 Gala. His words are appropriate for today:

On this particular night, my Grandfather was sitting next to me and, as the steaks were brought in, I noticed that he became rather quiet, and I said, “What is the matter, Grandfather?” He replied, “I was just thinking, the world is all wrong. Years ago, in Ireland, I had good teeth and nothing to eat, and now here I am, with this steak, and not a tooth in my head.” (Laughter.)

You see, it is nothing new that the world is all wrong. Everybody you hear speaking these days, over the air, and at banquets, talks about the depression, and says that we are all going to the bow-wows and that everything is upside down. I even read in the papers that they are having upside-down stomachs now. I am not sure whether this is an old ailment or whether it is one caused by some of the political speeches people are forced to listen to over and over again.

However, I am decidedly confident and see the future through rose-colored glasses, because I think that gatherings like this are typical of the people – the bone and sinew of this country. We are too proud and too smart ever to let this country reach the depths which our pessimists predict. No matter what has happened, we are now going ahead. I believe that we have passed our darkest hour. We are on the upgrade. Only a week or so ago, I read that the people of this country are paying 49 per cent more income taxes than they did last year. We are moving on to a better day. Let us all just remember that, no matter what our politics are – whether we like the President or not – remember that he is our President, the choice of the people, just the same as George Earle, our Governor, is the choice of the people. Maybe I do not agree with everything that George Earle says, or that the President says or puts into his program. I’ll tell you frankly that there are some things with which I don’t agree. But still I am sport enough to feel that maybe they have a better chance of seeing the right than I have because, like the referee of a football game, they can see more closely… they get the picture a little better than I can. So, I say to you, let your criticism be constructive criticism. Just remember that we are all on the team, and even if some of the plays are not perfect, if we are all behind them, we will find out quickly enough. They will let us know that the initial play isn’t the best thing, and then we can all move on to the better program.

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