Thursday, March 17, 2016

St Patrick's Day 2016

Ah, the Irish. There's so much of them in every one of us. That's not really surprising seeing as there are so many more Irish outside of Ireland than still living on the old sod. And when you have St. Patrick's Day celebrations in such diverse places as exemplified as Buenos Aries, Argentina, you know that the Irish mystique pervades world culture.

Why is that? Might it be that the soul of the average Irish personality resides in most all of humanity?

An easy examination of Irish culture gives many examples of Irish fortitude, courage, allegiance, patriotism, and an appreciation of simple yet profound human relationships. Who does not, if they have any sentiment in their bones, shed a tear when hearing O Danny Boy? Whoever will not feel their chests swell with nationalistic pride when hearing God save Ireland are indeed cold towards patriotism and their homelands and their brethren. Even sublime romanticism exists, heard through tunes like Black Velvet Band.

The more rambunctious bar songs of Irish lore appeal to the common thread of humanity. Have you heard The Wild Rover? A loser comes into his fortune and wins respect; redemption and respect indeed, as dreamed of by so many. Do not we all dream of that, to show everyone else that we've triumphed after all despite our flaws? How can we not believe in ourselves when listening to those happy tunes?

Acceptable extremes appear quite obvious in Irish lore. But do they not appear prominently in all human thoughts? The drunkard who believes God will forgive him if he makes Mass and does the occasional earthly good deed as did Darby O'Gill; will he not be forgiven by his faith in the simple acts which are the primary hope of redemption within the means of the most persons? The music was his, after all, wasn't it? Why? Because he did what he was asked to do within a legitimate frame.

The Irish are fightin', the Irish are sad and humbled; the Irish have been under the boots of their oppressors for centuries. Yet they hold true to what is true about who and what they are and about what defines them: their God. They recognize it even in their shortcomings. Their Irish guilt won't let them admit it, and rightly so.

Yet humanity requires that sort of odd pride, doesn't it? Perhaps it requires that profound and almost humble comment of the rebel Irish soldier to the northern Irish soldier near him at Appomattox, when Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant in April 1865. The Confederate leaned into the Unionist and remarked, "You only won because you had more Irish than we did".

Ah, the Irish. They can teach us something, can't they?

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