Written by Dallea Caldwell
American-Irish dual citizen with the first name Seamus, the last name McKierman, and the middle name Eion refuses to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. McKierman, whose father founded the Irish American Cultural Institute, views the Americanized holiday as “a celebration of cartoonish symbols of Irish culture”.
Granted, he’s blatantly correct. In fact, St, Patrick himself would have found the celebration appalling.
Green is Beautiful
Yet, in defense of an often debaucherous and silly past-time, there’s also something beautiful and admirable at work here- something that if emulated, could really bring people together.
St. Patrick’s day is a day when there is no creed but luck, no class but sainthood, and no color but green. And, of course, no matter where we come from individually… together, just this once, we’re all Irish.
We’re Irish because of the contributions Irish people and culture have made to American culture and history. List Charles Carroll, Andrew Jackson, and Ronald Reagan to name a few American heroes of Irish descent. And, sure, we revel in stereotypes- but, in the good-natured way a family may tease its gregarious uncle or the way self-deprecating humor makes us like ourselves even more somehow.
Giddy With Pride
At bottom, St. Patrick’s day, for all is buffoonery, is really about reaffirming the forgotten heritage of so many Americans whose immigrant forefathers sacrificed their language and culture to gain full and equal citizenship in a country which once maligned them. It’s also about acknowledging the powerful influence that culture has had on every American’s life.
We’re proud, finally, because the days when Irish immigrants were a stigmatized second class have long ended, granting us the freedom to be proud of the Irish blood that runs quietly through many of our veins and inconspicuously through what it means to be American. We’re loud because the elation inherent in the new-found freedom to be yourself tends to do that to people.
Kiss Me, I’m Irish
Imagine waking up for the first time to a world where you can say “Kiss me, this is who I am” and be received, for the first time, with high-fives and air kisses, let alone open arms. Imagine waking up to a world where that’s everyone’s new normal.
“Kiss Me, I’m Irish!” “Kiss me, I’m Muslim!” “Kiss me, I’m Punjabi!” “Kiss me, I’m Asian!” “Kiss me, I’m Black!”
Seva Call wishes you a Happy St. Patty’s Day and hopes you get big, fat kisses just the way you are!