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On the day of St. Patrick millions of people from across the country will leave their homes dressed from head to toe in green, wave Irish flags and shout “Erin go bragh” (“Ireland Forever”) as they head to their local pub to get drunk on Guinness and the preferred alcoholic indulgence of the day, the “Car Bomb” - a morbid reminder of the Irish Republican Army’s campaign of terror that left 1,800 people dead, 650 of them civilians.

Despite my ire for “Car Bombs”, I enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. It is a wonderful way to celebrate America’s strong ties with “The Emerald Isle” and a day to appreciate the many contributions that Irish immigrants have made to America.

I also like St. Patrick’s Day because it exposes so many nativists to be nothing more than hypocrites. Anti-Immigration is the preferred euphemism for nativism, and it indeed describes one common characteristic of all nativists.

In the 1850’s a political party called the “American Party” formed in opposition to the immigration of Irish Catholics. Among other things, members of the “American Party” campaigned for laws to require longer waiting periods between immigration and naturalization. I wonder what "American Party" members would think of their distant relatives gallivanting across town dressed in green, eating soda bread and professing their love for Ireland.

Yet many in today’s green-clad crowd, shouting “Ireland Forever”, and sipping whiskey will fail to see the irony when they roll their eyes overhearing a Spanish conversation in the mall, or they turn red-in-the-face when seeing a Mexican flag hanging from a car’s rear-view mirror. Could you imagine the uproar if Mexican-Americans draped themselves in Mexican flags, started shouting, “México para siempre” (Mexico Forever), and gathered in a bar to drink Dos Equis? The Drudge Report sirens would immediately herald the distressing details and the story would dominate Fox News and talk radio coverage for the next two weeks.

You would think that 160 years after the nativist “American Party” sought to rid the country of Irish influence, less people would seek the same fate for other cultures and more people would understand that America’s future is like gold. Purity weakens us but diversity gives us strength.

Originally posted to johnjgraff on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 03:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Speaking of Mexico, how many people will soon (4+ / 0-)

    drape themselves in rainbow serapes and crush nachos into their mouths with one hand while thumbing a lime wedge into a Corona bottle with the other, all while screaming "WOOOO!" and dreaming of that hoped-for-one-day week at a Gringolandia resort, then sneer the next day at the Latino busboy, or the Salvadoran family on line at the supermarket, and listen to their boy Rush who tells them of the Brown Peril just waiting to steal their job, and think, "he's right"?

  •  A few years ago, my husband and I (10+ / 0-)

    were bike riding in Corona Park, NYC.

    I noticed large crowds of Hispanic people all over the place- an obvious celebration was going on.

    I stopped and asked someone what was happening, and she said it was Colombia Independence Day.  As we drove away, I started saying, "Vive Colombia" to everyone.  I had so much fun.

    When I told that story to a member of my family, she said, "You know, they should go home if they want to celebrate."  

    "They are home" I told her, "As are all the Italians who celebrate St. Joseph's Day, The Irish on St. Patrick's Day."

    On Long Island, I attend Greek festivals, Italian festivals, Polish festivals and an annual Native Pow-wow.  And I try to make it back to the park to celebrate Colombia Day.

    And we all celebrate July 4th- Independence Day for America.  A wonderful place where we all can celebrate our heritage.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 04:05:40 PM PDT

  •  We Haven't Had a High Irish Immigration Rate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn, marykk

    since around the 1920's, sometime back around then maybe the 30's the brakes were put on for many groups. So there hasn't been a trigger for natives to be concerned about Irish immigration ever since.

    I don't think St. Patrick's day is a day when aliens in Ireland are told they're "Irish for a day" and I don't think Irish expats in Britain ever celebrated it by declaring the English "Irish for a day."

    I'm fairly sure that's American-Irish in origin, and considering the period of our history when large numbers of Irish immigrants first began to be found here, I think there are some troubling ethnic implications in the origins of that theme.

    On the positive side, it's an interesting notion to try to win over the mainstream not by insisting you're one of them, but rather that they're one of you at least for a party.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 04:05:54 PM PDT

  •  Check this out. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    U.S. remains first choice for Irish immigrants. Senate bill offers them a lifeline - The Hill's Congress Blog

     http://thehill.com/...

  •  Also, probably the same people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, marykk

    Who will get blitzed on tequila and/or Corona while donning ludicrously oversize somberos on a certain day in early May.

    29, male, new MI-14/old MI-12.

    by Silvan Elf on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 04:12:03 PM PDT

  •  Given what their ancestors endured (6+ / 0-)

    any Irish American who harbors nativist sentiments is pissing on his grandfather's grave, IMHO.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 04:25:28 PM PDT

  •  "No Irish need apply" was often posted at job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, BachFan

    sites in the 19th century.

    After that it was the Poles, Italians, and Jews. In California it was the Chinese. During WWI it was Germans and during WWII Japanese. Blacks and Hispanics just about everywhere and always.

    One amusing (to me) anecdote- an early group of immigrants discriminated against were the English in New York. The Dutch and Huguenot merchants were disgusted by the influx of lowlifes in the late 17th century. The English aristocrats who ran the government sided with the rich merchants. This led to a rebellion by the English underclass, who took things over for a few years. Eventually the army moved in and hung the ring leaders.

    A couple of my very distant French/Belgian ancestors who were New York merchants signed a letter to the Crown complaining about the immigrants about 1700. So all you WASPs need to learn how to speak Dutch or go back where you came from.

  •  Inflamitory and wrong, Cinco de Mayo! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp

    And nope, nobody cares, it's a fun day.  People love it, great holiday and just as much of a drunken mess as today is.

    I've never seen Fox pitch a fit about it either, or the Republican party.  In fact a Republican Congress pushed a Republican president in 2005 to pass a law forcing people to recognize it.  In fact, President Bush went out and greeted people for it and had a blast.

    Sorry if this throws a wrench into your "but they hate all Mexican's" tirade, but you are rather wrong here.

    "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

    by overclocking on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 04:39:38 PM PDT

    •  Gotta agree with you (0+ / 0-)
      Could you imagine the uproar if Mexican-Americans draped themselves in Mexican flags, started shouting, “México para siempre” (Mexico Forever), and gathered in a bar to drink Dos Equis
      ?

      I take it the diarist has never been to California on Cinco De Mayo---evrybody's out celebrating and I don't mean just Mexicans or Mexican americans either

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 01:17:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live in Los Angeles (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk

        But my diary wasn't referring to most people living in Los Angeles (maybe in the San Fernando Valley), it was directed at people who would shudder if they saw an actual Cinco de Mayo celebration in SoCal.

        Furthermore, I would argue that many Mexican-Americans are anxious to avoid over-indulging on their Independence holiday so as to avoid any potential flak from bigots in the Anti-immigration crowd.

        I can almost guarantee that any celebration as described in my diary by "brown people", in a place other than SoCal, would be met with howls of protest.

        Progress, not perfection

        by johnjgraff on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:14:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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