I awoken to mass yesterday morning. My hair uncombed, my nite clothes on and there I was remembering responses of 'Lord hear our Prayer' and 'Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the earth have mercy on us'.....
Hm. Funny how those things come back inspite off all of lifes' hallmarks and time itself passed....
It occurred to me that perhaps those who take for granted that things will be ok and life will be made right because 'somebody' else would see to it and we could spend our own time in selfish persuit assuming that all would work out because its taken for granted in this country (or erroneously perceived) that we don't have the power (or desire) to affect a change and we justify it with 'but somebody else will do it'.....
Well, that "Somebody else" died. Who will champion the rights of the common person? Who will work to ensure that the least of us are thought of and those of us written off for any number of reasons will not be forgotten ? I wonder if there are any lions left. I see the torch lay burning on the ground and wonder who will pick it up and carry it for those of us who constantly depend on 'somebody else'.
Flawed and imperfect tho he was , his life mirrored ours and indeed he did pay great and painful prices for his personal error's and those who would point and judge were able to ignore their own skeletons in doing so and I am sure if their closets were thrown open and we all looked inside we might see heinous deeds the pointers denied.
This was my history and my generation and his family made it ok to be irish and catholic which in politics still is barely tolerated given the 'extreme right'.
'Extreme-Right'.....wait, I get that now. Those people truly believe in the absolutely most extreme personfication that only they are 'right'.....so does that make the other 53% of our nation WRONG?
I was born in Scranton and left at an early age and in doing so left the security of my irish catholic community and family to a southern state where adults would tell me that I was not acceptable. I didn't understand why the KKK boasted those letters stood for 'Koons, Kikes , Katholics' and I couldn't understand why they didn't know that two of those words started with 'C' but I knew not to say anything.
I would hear adults call me 'mackeral snapper', 'mick', 'harpie', 'paddy', 'idolotress' , pagan and undesireable. I didn't know what those terms meant but by the very look on the faces and voice influctions they weren't good names and worse, they were speaking to ME. I was called a 'negro turned inside out' but the term they used would NEVER be allowed to be spoken in my home .
Because of the Kennedy's many of us could dance in the sunlight along side other peoples who were thought of as 'undesirables' and we had finally been validated. I thought magically the world had changed and now everybody could dance anywhere. I am sad to say it was not so. I would learn as an adult moving nomadically some people never got the memo.
I would learn that it was too simplistic of an idea to expect . That's America's problem...simple things are mangled to the point of abstract idealogy and confusion.
Every time a Kennedy fell down the press was there to point out their faults and worse, other churches not Catholic propagated insane and completely false 'rumors' of babies walled up in Convents. Nuns had no hair. We 'ate' the body of Christ but they left out we were simply in COMMUNION. The ancient traditions and frankincense connecting the now to ancient times were grossly portrayed and as I attended the mass of the last of the Lions I could not help but notice that as it is with my people a simple white cloth lay draped over the casket reminding us all that no man is above his brother . That my friends is our way to stay 'humble'.
This family led lifetimes of service irregardless of how they came to power. Their offspring also lead lives of service tho not so high profiled and though they could rest upon their great wealth, they CHOOSE to be apart of change and change for the better. Better conditions for people. Better conditions for our planet. Equal opportunity for men and women of all colors and walks of life.
The testament and measure of a human is what is left behind at the end of his/her life. It came to me that I've spent much of my life missing opportunities to 'serve' and I felt shame. I'll not live out what is left of my life in same.
We are all better for having had this grand hearted lion to see to it that the things we needed would be done and he would achieve more than any president so perhaps his position was indeed where his ability to change policies and conditions for all was truly where change is created.
For those of you who don't know how it is that the irish in America in my generation can balance both Irish pride and American pride as no other race besides the Native American.
We sing our history, we weep at beauty, we seek that which is poetic in word, in nature by our passion , compassion, and concern for our fellow man. This is becoming lost to the newer generation and it is my hopes that the young learn their roots and walk in honor of how they came to be and change the way their lives are heading to serve so we all are free.
If you are a woman who received an athletic or academic scholarship, thank a Kennedy.
If you are a person of color free to walk, sit, live and love anyone you wish to love , thank a Kennedy.
If you a single mother in need of help for your children and have assistance to make ends meet...Thank a Kennedy
If you have ever been given benefit of minimum wage raises , Thank a Kennedy.
Meals on wheels....Thank a Kennedy
Space endeavors? Thank a Kenney
Special Olympics......Thank a Kennedy. BTW. Did you know that until they changed how those who were often sent away to insitutions because they were 'retarded' we taught to eat and bathe instead of staff bringing in food and feeding those people like animals and then hosing them off in the shower room?...a Kennedy knew that was NOT all that could be accomplished and that those some families were ashamed of could learn much more than their families ever thought they could.
Our first President of Color......Thank a Kennedy.
This is the story of the history my generation bore witness to. I am saddened and yet honored to have been born at a time to know JFK, RFK, MLK and Teddy.
I now wonder who will pick up the torch and I pray that it is our President and it will not be easy nor will it come fast but it is my hopes in honor of a family who knew tragedy and triumph and cared enough for the least of us , we ALL will step up and extend our hands to help a man who would not have had the right to vote not so long ago to shape our country to be the best it can be.
Rise out of your bigotry and bias. Your God is not greater than anyone elses and your skin tone is not a symbol of privilage. If anything, it makes you more responsible because frankly most who are white or pass as white have had it pretty sweet since some came and took land from those born to it....many generations have died off so at this point we are all native born....and for those of you who can't understand how it is we Irish can be both proud of those roots and willing to serve in this country .....its in our very DNA to do so. But make no mistake, an attack on this nation we all rise as one to defend her.
It is our tribal genetic memory to know predjudice, hardship, hunger, great attempts at genocide across the pond...so we choose to live inspite of that history and to improve those same conditions here .
"May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be forever at your back" Sweet Teddy. The passion for the sea you were drawn to tells me you have finally found your skin.
'Lord, hear my prayer'. Perhaps the land of Tir Na Og' exists. I'd like to think so.
Evleen Ban Branaugh