GregB, we cross posted. While I don't agree completely with your summation, it is on whole a very good summation of your position.
The support for the Republican cause, or the Fenian Cause, in this country goes back over the generations. The culture of the Irish American was formed by those that were forced to leave Ireland, and who were committed to freedom for that land. I am not afraid to admit that there are a great many Irish Americans who do not take the time to understand their heritage and the political situation. But it is not as much as you generalize about. There are any number of Irish newspapers, and many of the community invest a great deal of time and study to understand.
And as to the effect of the Irish American on the landscape, it is fair to say that the support they lent also contributed to bringing us to the point where we are at today. Their support in publicizing the collaboration of the RUC with the paramilitaries, such as in the Pat Finucane case, very likely hastened the peace process. There are many other examples.
I guess what I really want to say is this. The time of the gun is past. The time of bitterness is on the wane, replaced with the beacon of hope. If the we all can quit pounding our respective drums (I'll lay off the bodhran, youse lay off the lambeg) and let these folks continue with crafting the peace for the children of the North, this beautiful land will be all the better for it.
I still sing the songs, they represent a small part of our show, but the context is different. I hope it stays that way.
All the best,