by Max Brantley
First: No jokes about gas and the Irish.
Sen. Jason Rapert of Bigelow, a prominent member of the Shale Caucus, has sent a letter to legislative colleagues — read it here — about the formation of an Arkansas Irish Caucus. It will work on forming relationships with Ireland and is an outgrowth of Ireland's establishment of a consulate in Atlanta. The consul is making a visit to Arkansas Dec. 15 and Rapert has invited colleagues to join him at a reception that day at Trapnall Hall.
Rapert's letter says few immigrants had the impact that Irish Protestants did on the American mountain South (at least until the recent Latino immigration) in the 18th and 19th centuries. He said:
Their traditions in music, storytelling, agriculture and faith are with us today, even if most of us never think about where our customs originated.