A lesson from the Irish in America

The Whitehouse yesterday put out the following release, announcing he return of March as Irish – American heritage month. The statement read:

IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 2017

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Irish Americans have made an indelible mark on the United States.  From Dublin, California, to Limerick, Maine, from Emerald Isle, North Carolina, to Shamrock, Texas, we are reminded of the more than 35 million Americans of Irish descent who contribute every day to all facets of life in the United States.  Over generations, millions of Irish have crossed the ocean in search of the American Dream, and their contributions continue to enrich our country today.

From our four Irish-born Founding Fathers to Thomas Francis Meagher, the Irish revolutionary who became an American hero after leading the Irish Brigade during the Civil War, Irish immigrants have shaped our history in enduring ways.  Throughout the centuries, hard-working Irish Americans have contributed to America’s innovation and prosperity — tilling the farms of Appalachia, working the looms of New England textile mills, and building transcontinental railroads — often overcoming poverty and discrimination and inspiring Americans from all walks of life with their indomitable and entrepreneurial spirit in the process.  From these early beginnings rose generations of Irish Americans who continue to lead our cities, drive our economy, and protect and defend the land they embrace as their own.

American culture carries an unmistakably Irish-American imprint.  Our literature, cinema, music, dance, sports, and visual arts are filled with the names and influence of great Irish Americans.

Irish Americans should be proud of the deep cultural, historical, and familial ties that have contributed to the strength of our vibrant transatlantic relationship with Ireland.  As we honor the past during Irish-American Heritage Month, we also celebrate a bright future of friendship and cooperation for generations to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2017 as Irish-American Heritage Month.  I call upon all Americans to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Irish Americans to our Nation with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

 

Now let me say, as a proud Irish man I am glad to see the American administration recognise the strong bonds between our people. The story of the Irish Americans can teach us a lot. I expect the extreme left will be up in arms over Trump celebrating a fellow white race, but there was a time when no one faced greater “oppression” than the Irish.

The Irish fled to the U.S. from a desolate Ireland, destroyed by a laissez faire British economic policy designed to systematically lower the population of Ireland. Motivated by economic theories popularised by David Ricardo and others, the British administration believed the Irish Catholics over bred and their population needed lowering if they were to be economically viable. Thus it was that they could justify exporting huge amounts of livestock out of Ireland during the potato famine. During the famine there were numerous cases of people resorting to eating rats in a desperate attempt to survive. The Irish population was lowered in half.

The Irish, fleeing this dire situation, came to the USA with nothing but hope and an unmatched work ethic. They did not have dreams of getting rich or living an American dream, they simply wanted to earn enough to survive. For many decades the Irish were treated as second class citizens. Restaurants regularly displayed signs saying “No dogs, No Irish” and the Irish were often refused work due to their race. Yet, they persevered, and over time became an integral part of the growth of the US as the most powerful nation in the world. The Irish helped build the American dream, and few understood it better than they.

Today they are an unmistakable part of the American culture. Through their hard work they (we) have come to dominate certain sectors such as certain fire and police departments. Did they do this through quotas? Did they do this through welfare? Through political correctness forcing the indigenous population to talk to them in a way they found agreeable? No. They did it through hard work and virtuous living. They kept their faith and customs in such a way that they never descended into becoming a criminal underclass as other racial groups tended to do. This is not to say that they didn’t integrate. Indeed, another reason for their unique success was their willingness to embrace American culture and ultimately help shape it. Despite the hatred and discrimination they faced, they still very much believed in the American dream, and resolutely refused to become a victimised minority.

They succeeded, not by quotas, not by reparations, not by welfare or pity from the majority, but by the strength, determination and goodness present in their character. This lesson is one more relevant now than ever.

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2 responses to “A lesson from the Irish in America

  1. This is great! But being a half Irish Hell’s Kitchener(yeah, I’m mixed, not big news in my part of the world), it would be remiss not to point out that there is also quite a rich history of Irish gangs & organized crime in America spanning from the 1800’s through…I’d say the 80’s was the last of the notorious headline grabbers like the Westies, but who knows? I mention this in the name of historical accuracy and owning this aspect of my own heritage, not to negate the great music, literature and honor that are also the contributions of the Irish people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Potato Famine Irish were highly motivated: stay in Ireland and die of starvation or go to America and fight and live.

    Of all the immigrant groups that came to America, the Irish had one great advantage: they spoke the English language.

    Hitchhiking in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales
    https://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/hitchhiking-in-ireland-northern-ireland-england-and-wales/

    Liked by 1 person

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