According to a July 16 story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (drawn from a VICE News interview), Mike Kelly, the 16th Congressional District’s intrepid representative, said, “They talk about people of color. I’m white. I’m an Anglo-Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don’t get offended. ... With a name like Mike Kelly, you can’t be from any place but Ireland.”
Kelly credits this ability to rise above the fray to his “thicker skin” and unwillingness to walk around with his “nose out of joint.”
While some of his constituents will be relieved to learn that sticks and stones may break his bones but anti-Irish slurs don’t hurt him, his statements will baffle others. Consider the term "Anglo-Saxon," which links "Angles" and "Saxons," two Germanic tribes who began settling Britain about 1,500 years ago. Now ponder the fact that the original inhabitants of present-day Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland were Celtic. So unless Mr. Kelly can trace his ancestry to a “pure,” "Anglo-Saxon” Adam and Eve, he must have a hefty proportion of Celtic blood coursing through his veins. What, then, can Mr. Kelly mean when he refers to himself as “Anglo-Saxon”?
Also, Kelly isn’t “from Ireland.” He was born in Pittsburgh and has lived most of his life in Butler, so while he can travel to Ireland on vacation or to drum up business for the district or to witness the horrors of that country’s “socialist” health care system, he can’t “go back” to where he didn’t “come from," no matter how many insults he manfully ignores.
Finally, it’s hard to imagine anyone in 2019 telling Kelly (or anybody else) to “go back to Ireland,” although if his forebears disembarked on these shores between the Irish Potato Famine and 1870 or so, we can be certain that many “real Americans” made life painful for them.
The blustery, ludicrous statements Kelly made to VICE News shouldn’t surprise anyone. They will, however, provide some of us that much more motivation to vote him home to Butler, the place he actually comes from.