A Foot in Each Country

Editor’s Corner: A Foot in Each Country
by John O’Brien, Jr. @ Jobjr

2020 has so many alliterations: COVID, the election, hindsight and insight. We all have blurry vision, framed by the glasses and filters of experience that we wear. Our experience is not absolute, not the experience of our neighbors. They may be ours, but they are not absolute.

Regular checkups are always recommended. Reality checks cut through the glasses and filters of our limited experience, to listen to those with different ones. Then and only then, can we deliberately choose what filters we want to wear going forward, framed by listening, empathy, values, and if you are Christian, hopefully, the word of God. We cannot drink from the chalice, the blood of Christ; the mass is ended, go in peace, and then close our hands and our eyes to those less fortunate, of wealth, of equal justice or equal opportunity, lying nearby. They are asking for help, and the equal opportunities we and/or our predecessors received. Someone fought to give them to us.

Shouldn’t we appreciate that experience in our DNA even more, for having gone through it, and then open our hand, reach down and clasp the hand of those coming after?

One Country/One Ireland
Growing up Irish, we have that code in our DNA.  Why shouldn’t that same ideal be the mantra for America; be the same for us here in the U.S.?

We all bear hurts and dreams and goals – let us not repeat the mistakes of our past, of a divided Ireland and the sins of the father taken out on the son, whether here or across the pond. 

Let us return to neighbors, over the fence conversations over lemonade, an icy cold beer or a steaming (Irish or not) coffee, and a willingness to put a little bit of ourselves aside, to sacrifice for the good of all our siblings. It’s what built America, and the existence of a dream, that can and does come true. That dream cannot depend on whether you are a black child watching VP Harris on TV and seeing doors open for the first time, or an old white guy like me, who cares just as deeply, that achievement of that little girl’s dreams isn’t just a dream, but equally reality for everyone. The only criteria that matters is equal access and the performance of the dreamer. 

We all dream of One Country/One Ireland. Why can’t we all dream of One Country/One America too?

Nuair a stadann an ceol, stadann an rince
(When the music stops, so does the dance)

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