3/17/2004 04:36:00 PM
"TIS A DAY THE IRISH SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE IRISH"
If it's March 17th in NYC it means only one thing, The upstaters make their annual trip to the big city. The good thing is they come down here once a year, the bad thing is they have absolutely no clue on what it is to be Irish.
Now before you start firing off an angry e-mail let me tell you that both my parents were born and raised in Ireland (Up Sligo) and we were taught from an early age on how badly the Irish and in particular Irish-Catholics were treated by the Brits, as the famine of 1847 was the Brtish idea of ethnic cleansing. So it is because of such discrimination that when the Ancient Order of Hibernians from Oranage and Rockland County converage on the city for the St. Patrick's Day parade, I get a bit embarassed.
For some reason every group get's to march in the parade except one the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization. So it in what is the most progressie city in the world, ILGO is not allowed to march. So in essence, the AOH have turned into the Brits of centuries past.
There is a man in Harwichport on Cape Cod who owns a baseball card store and he is a retired Boston cop. His grandson works in the shop during his summer vacation from school. Last August when I was visiting I stopped in to say hello. I notice the grandson was not around. I ask the man where he was, he said "He's off to orientation at Harvard. He will be a freshman there in September" I said, "wow, you must be so proud" He replied " You know something? I remember they only time they let an Irishman in Harvard was to cut the grass" and when he told me you could see his eyes well up.
That's what being Irish is about. Overcoming prejudice and understanding what it's like to be discriminated against. Because we know what our ancesstors endured, we as Irish Americans should be more tolarant. It's not green beer and minstral songs like Irish Eyes are Smiling that make St. Patrick's Day, it's the Irsh people and their will and strong work ethic that makes this a day to celebrate.
It's time the Hibernian's made their parade inclusive instead of exclusive. Do it in the name of St. Patrick. Oh and folks, could you please refrain from calling it St. "Paddy's" Day as the word "Paddy" is an ethinic slur.
Denis Hamil of the NY Daily News had an outstanding column yesterday on St. Patrick and it features quotes from Frank McCourt. It's men like Frank and his brother Malachey that make you proud to be Irish