Today being the solemn feast of St Patrick, I decided to use a carry-over vacation day from last year so I could pour some libations (down my gullet). Before I head out, I just have to rant... in the wake of the horrors that have been exposed in Irish institutions that masqueraded as helpers of the indigent, that the Irish people have long been preyed upon by authority figures, by bigoted foreign conquerors (who attempted a genocide), by the various predatory religious hierarchies who abused and divided the common people. I look at my kindly, generous friends and neighbors and I wonder how a people so given to hospitality and good-heartedness could have let their worst elements wield such power over them. The popular vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland signaled a major shift away from the patriarchal dominance structure that prevailed even after Irish independence was gained, a shift from authoritarianism to a generous-spiritedness more natural to the tribe.
To a large extent, the Irish (like the Jews and African-Americans) are a diaspora people, forced to leave their homelands by hostile outside forces, and finding ways to not only survive, but to thrive despite the hardships they have faced. The heritage that I celebrate is the tenacity, the hard work and sheer grit that my forebears exhibited, and that I endeavor to maintain. For the same reason, I admire Jewish and African-American people, who have inherited the same determination to overcome oppression. The flip side of that is that I find Irish-American authoritarians (I'm looking at a couple of FOX hosts here) to be particularly repugnant- they are the sort of people who have thrown in their lot with the oppressors, rather than the underdogs of the world.
I'll be heading out for a wee dram or two... or three... Before I head out, here's a number from Mary Courtney, friend of the Bastard and Star of the County Bronx,
The Patriot Game, with lyrics by Dominic Behan, perfectly encapsulates the conflicted nature of the Irish people, the morass of patriotism, sectarianism, nationalism, and violence that has so long held sway on Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore. Things have gotten a lot better in the past twenty-years, which is reason enough to raise a glass of Tullamore Dew in celebration.