When Irish eyes are crying

By The Madison County Record | Mar 13, 2018

We're all Irish on St. Patrick's Day. So we pretend as we turn out for parades sporting leprechaun hats and green garments adorned with shamrocks, washing down corned beef and cabbage with green beer at a church hall afterward as though this once-a-year repast were a regular part of our diet.

We're all Irish on St. Patrick's Day. So we pretend as we turn out for parades sporting leprechaun hats and green garments adorned with shamrocks, washing down corned beef and cabbage with green beer at a church hall afterward as though this once-a-year repast were a regular part of our diet.

The next day, those of us who aren't lucky enough to have been born Irish put our blarney back in mothballs for a year and reassume our true identities.

Rachel Dolezal and Elizabeth Warren notwithstanding, you really can't change your origins. Either you're Irish or you're not, right?  No matter how much you might hanker to be Hibernian, you are what you are.

Try telling that to Phillip Spiwak.

While Spiwak is not an Irish name, Shannon P. O’Malley is, but don't bet a pot of gold on it, because Shannon P. O'Malley is, or was, Phillip Spiwak. He's trans-Irish, so to speak. 

We're not sure how the transition occurs, but, apparently, it culminates in a legal name change and – presto! – you're Irish.

Schaumburg attorney Phillip Spiwak ran as a Republican candidate for Will County judge in 2010 and lost, but that defeat did nothing to dampen his aspirations. Spiwak is nothing if not resourceful. He switched party affiliations, came out as an Irishman, and is now running for a judgeship in Cook County's Thirteenth Subcircuit as a Celtic Democrat. 

Maybe his relatives and friends have accepted the new Phillip Spiwak, but the Illinois Civil Justice League is old-fashioned and had trouble accepting his transformation, giving “O'Malley” the only “not recommended” rating in its assessment of candidates running in next week's primary.

“In a blatant attempt to improve his electoral prospects, O’Malley is deceiving voters by changing his party affiliation and his perceived ethnic origin,” says League President John Pastuovic. “In our opinion, his cynical attempt to game the electoral process disqualifies him for any office, particularly that of judge.”

A son of the sod he's not.

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