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IRISH: a Personal Perspective on the Immigration Subject
by David Sparenberg
2017-02-10 10:26:18
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Fortunately the attorney general here in the state of Washington filed against reality TV’s Trump ban on immigrants and refugees, and on Friday, 3 Feb., a federal judge ruled against the ban and nationally it has been lifted. 

imm01_400_02Now I cannot speak to the entire history of immigration to the United States, but will write here a bit on one striking case.

In Ireland between 1845-49 the potato crop, food staple of the Irish people, failed throughout the land due to blight.  During the ensuing famine a million Irish died of starvation and related disease.  The famine claimed 10% of the entire population of the island country.  This was a humanitarian crisis on a scale similar to population withering and displacement in our time resulting from global warming (rapid losses of arable land and available water) and war.  Along with the million deaths, another million and a half Irish folk immigrated, relocating to the United States, Canada and Australia.  Seventy-five percent of these immigrants came to America.

Now consider: What if, all you Irish-Americans, Trump had been in the White House during the years of the Great Famine and had denied entry to our ancestry?  Of course they would have been “white,” a plus to a racist and diseased worldview, but then they would have been predominately Catholic and still Irish, with a reputation for anti-authoritarian intransigence and rebellion.

My father’s family name, obviously, is German and there is a city in the south of Germany and a ruined castle in Saxony bearing this same name.  I have a maternal great grandmother who was a full blooded Eastern Cherokee; a woman of color who married into the Floyds of Augusta, Georgia.  From that wild Indian family line came the American Robin Hood of the Great Depression, my grandfather’s cousin, Charles, popularly called “Pretty boy.”  Floyd was murdered by a zealous FBI agent for a crime he did not commit.  But he has been immortalized as a folk hero in song by  the troubadour of the Depression rails, Woody Guthrie.

All together there are three Celtic/Irish branches in my family tree.  So I am personally roused to ask what would have happened had the Mad Donald been in power during the Famine.  What would have become of those immigrating Geoghegans, Floyds and Hardys, or even to my grandkids with the family name Helean?

To say that America is a nation of immigrants is not only a convenient platitude, serving one set of values, debunking others.  It is a biological reality of American history and the melting pot identity.  The only exceptions to the common immigrant background to American citizenry are the Native Americans, who were genocidal massacred by political capitalism, and a large percentage of Black Americans who, to the everlasting shame of the nation, were cruelly forced over to this continent as slaves.

As a species, we human beings are imaginative explorers, imaginative celebrants, imaginative sufferers; dreamers.  These capacities of imagination are engaged whenever we dig into the soil of time past and whenever we project our movement onto the horizon of future time.  But there is a world of difference between clarity; honesty in relation to what actually is; and obscurity; between empathy which threads through generations, and the “disconnects” of uncaring denial.  Identity defining differences indeed avail between using the human faculty of imagination to traverse time and space to achieve kenosis—the emptying out of ego to relate with feeling to the pathos of others—and the contrivance of so-called “alternative facts” in order to dissociate.

Then I ask you to think about who immigrants in America really are, not out of trumped up fear, but from the perspective of the torch of light in the raised hand of Lady Liberty.  For whom is the beacon raised, the hand held high?  For whom does the light shine?

Notwithstanding the metaphor of the Statue on Liberty Island, these are existential and historical and not rhetorical questions.

David Sparenberg


Check David Sparenberg's NEW BOOK
THE GREEN TROUBADOUR A Source Book of Performance Ecosophy
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!



David Sparenberg has also 2 more Books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
"Life in the Age of Extinctions volume 2 – Threshold"
Download for FREE HERE!



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Emanuel Paparella2017-02-10 12:35:09
A poignant moving personal story making a larger point related to the very destiny of our country and what it remains to repent and regret of. Thanks for sharing.

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