In any event, I thought I’d take a look at Irish-related stuff I’ve collected and see if I could come up with some things appropriate to celebrating the Irish part of my heritage. I suppose that I should be careful in discussing my ancestry, though, as there are probably some people who would probably like to “cancel” me for being too Irish, or not Irish enough, or that those with any Irish heritage should go back where they came from, or that ALL immigrants should be expelled from a country which was established by immigrants by putting the earlier residents on “reservations” (behind a “wall”) because they could get away with it, then engaging in discrimination against every other sort of immigrant down to the present based on various combinations of race, religion, ethnicity, and probably several other excuses.
Now at least one of those potential “cancellers,” (all of whose eight great-grandparents, [according to his Wikipedia biography] were born in Italy and were immigrants to the US between 100 and 150 years ago), wants to rewrite American history to, essentially, exclude any mention of racial discrimination against the formerly enslaved, and, apparently, also ignore the widespread discrimination which has existed against EVERY immigrant group I can think of which ever came to this country, including those from Italy. Of course, the “indigenous” people who were actually here first are simply to be ignored as not worthy of mention.
The facts are that my earliest American ancestors, who arrived here around 1620 (about 400 years ago), pushed the “indigenous” people who were here before them around, then proceeded to push around every other group of later immigrants. And, some of their group (even of their clergy) owned slaves, which some (ignorant) people assume was just a Southern “sin.” Ever wonder why were there so many early colonies? Look it up! (If Ron DeSantis and his “RINO culture warriors” haven’t “cleaned up” your library.) You’ll find that most of the colonies were founded, at least in part, to provide a place where some religious group hoped to be left alone to worship as they wished, which usually included not allowing any other groups to worship their way. And, these colonies were essentially all of ENGLISH heritage, so there was a common racial and ethnic bias, as well as a dominant Christian focus!
As time passed, groups of people from other parts of the world wanted to come here (especially after the high-sounding words of the Founding Fathers became known) and westward expansion took place (again at the expense of the indigenous peoples). So, a variety of ethnic, religious, and other groups came, or were brought, to this country and eventually, (along with the formerly enslaved people which earlier colonists had imported) wanted to become a part of American society.
ALL of these groups faced bias, discrimination, prejudice, etc., at the hands of the established colonists, and that didn’t go away quickly or completely. For example, I didn’t live in an area where many folks of Vietnamese heritage settled after we abandoned Vietnam in the 1970s and let some refugees in, but I was aware that in many places these people were not treated very well, for all that they had been our allies. I won’t discuss the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII, but “concentration camps” comes to mind, although we called them “internment facilities.” This idea showed up again with the anti-Asian sentiment which developed around the “Kung-flu,” as COVID was called by some, and the anti-Muslim activities after 9/11, as well as other cases It’s also interesting to note that Ukrainian immigrants fleeing the current war in their homeland are being, generally, warmly welcomed, but refugees fleeing deplorable conditions in Central and South America are considered undesirable, and UNwelcome by many.
The fact is, of course, that we, as a country, have always taken our sweet time in allowing ANY group of “others” to achieve any sort of successful assimilation into the general society. The idea that we have’t resolved these sorts of issues yet is disappointing, but not really surprising, as we’ve been avoiding even discussing them much since our earliest beginnings. The belief appears to be that such issues will simply “go away” if we ignore them. Therefore, the “best” solution is to refuse to allow our children (and/or ourselves) access to accurate information about such issues in schools, libraries, the press, etc.
The facts may be unpleasant, but it’s only wishful thinking, and that’s all it ever will be if we try to believe that ignorance (or deliberate lies) will create any sort of solution. You see, as the saying goes, “The truth is out there!” The real (not “alternative”) facts are widely available, not only in scholarly writings, but in plays, novels, magazines, movies, tv shows, social media, etc., ad nauseam. If people don’t get it from scholarly sources, they’ll get it from “popular” media, which may well be more damaging, as it is less likely to contain the most accurate information. Unless the RINOs figure out how to implement a Fahrenheit 451 sort of world, however, the notion that, “all men are created equal” and that we have been (and are being lied to about it) just isn’t going to go away.
The “Ostrich” method seems unlikely to do much to change things, even if it was possible to destroy the sources of actual information and substitute some sort of singular “Master Race” concept. That’s been tried before, and it didn’t work then. And, it seems unlikely that it will work this time, no matter how much the RINOs hold their breath until they turn blue. My suspicion is that, in reality, far from being concerned that: “little white” children will be embarrassed by being members of the group which was the major oppressive force in most of these cases, it’s truly their PARENTS who are afraid that their children will wonder why THEY didn’t do anything to resolve these issues a long time ago. Rogers and Hammerstein aren’t the only ones aware that biased attitudes “have to be carefully taught.” It’s also worth noting that the “good old days” when everything was great (apparently the 1950s and 60s as imagined on old TV shows) really weren’t all that great either, or the whole Civil Rights thing wouldn’t have gotten going then. Some people seem to think they were the US's "golden age," however.
But, I have gotten distracted from the cause of St. Patrick’s Day which is MUCH more than a specifically Roman Catholic holiday, it’s a day where EVERYONE claims to be Irish! I find St. Patrick’s Day particularly nice because it demonstrates that it is possible to progress beyond the “No Irish Need Apply” mentality which existed for much of (especially) the 19th Century in the US as the Irish were not only an ethnic group of long-standing English discrimination for just being Irish, they were largely Catholic to boot, which made them an target of much of Protestant American society. I find it somewhat encouraging that the two parts of Ireland (Protestant and Catholic dominated) seem to have found a way to at least tolerate their differences without constantly resorting to the violence of a few years ago. This would appear to suggest that it IS possible for people to set differences aside, at least to the point of not killing each other. Maybe the rest of us will get there someday when dealing with such issues.
Anyway, I’ve selected a small group of St. Pat’s day stuff that I’d like to pass along for, hopefully, the general pleasure of the group. Some of these deal with drinking, of course, as most people seem to think that’s what the Irish do best. Rumor has it that they DO do it pretty well, but they can do other things, too. Along those lines, I believe this IS possible!
In closing, it’s been said that, on occasion, we Irish can have a pleasing way with the words, so, I pass this wish along for you on St. Paddy’s day and always.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
— Nelson Mandela
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows