A tale of two signs

The sign hung on the fridge in our parish hall. “No Irish need apply,” it blared. 

I don’t remember how old I was when I first  noticed the sign, but I was pretty young. I couldn’t comprehend the sign. Were Irish automatically being hired. After all, it seemed like most of our Catholic parish had red hair or looked like actual leprechauns. Even the kids I knew with Italian last names seemed all be proud of their Irish blood. Our parish even had a party for St. Patrick’s Day. 

So it couldn’t be an anti-Irish sign, I thought. I remember staring at it, not understanding it was hung in irony and not spite. 

Thankfully it was the 1990s and not 1890s, otherwise  it would have been spite. 

I’ve thought about that sign most of my adult life. It’s shaped a lot of how I feel.  The more I learned about how the Irish were treated when they, the wretched refuse of to the emerald isle’s teeming shore, arrived, the more I realized my heritage demanded I stand alongside any new Americans, particularly those who have been persecuted. 

One of the most inspiring moments of my life came four years ago this fall. I attended a Rememberence Day ceremony in Gettysburg. As the program that celebrated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address moved along, one portion was a naturalization ceremony. The Justice who performed the process was Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Mike was with me. He wasn’t even 1 years old yet, so I helped him clap. 

Today, the White Nationalist currently allowed to occupy the Oval Office because our country has gone insane, hopefully temporarily, rescinded President Obama’s DACA program. 

Today, Presidebt Trump hung a “No Hispanics Need Apply” sign in the Rose Garden.  

I prefer the sign at the base of Lady Liberty. 

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