Monday, October 10, 2016

Immigrants Day, 2016

On holidays great and small, I tend to do a post associated with a holiday. And Columbus Day is no exception.

In the past, I’ve written that it’s a nifty little holiday. And that it is. Unless you’re in the path of Hurricane Matthew, the weather is generally pretty nice in New England. Baseball is still being played – somewhere, anyway. (As I write this, the Red Sox are facing elimination, so by Monday may be out of the mix.) While some of my clients are open for business, I pretty much take a New Englander pass and take the day more or less off. And:

I like that there are no obligations associated with Columbus Day: no special foods, no must-attend events, no present buying. It’s pretty much a free ride.

Sometimes, however, when Columbus Day rolls around, my head hurts. In 2008, when it made my head hurt, politics and the economy played a big role on my head-hurtin’ list. Here were a few of the items I had on there:

  • All mention of the Wall Street roller coaster
  • The clang of the closing bell
  • Shots of crazed traders on the floor
  • The idea that some unworthy jerks will make out from the various bailouts
  • Sarah Palin makes my head hurt; I want her to have a starring role in Fargo II, not in Washington (you betcha!).

I guess it goes without saying that, in 2016, there’s a little political someone who’s hurting my head big time. (And I thought Sarah Palin was ignorant and foul…)

In 2013, I took the day off, blogging-wise. My head didn’t hurt; my heart did. My husband was in MGH recovering from brain surgery, and we were heading into the end of his life. ‘Nuf said.

And last year, I wrote about immigrants, and in this the year of immigrant-bashing, it still seems particularly apt.

I am the daughter (on one side) and the great-grand-daughter (on the other) of immigrants. My mother, who was only 4 or so at the time, remembered being at Ellis Island, so immigration is not a faraway, back in the day notion to me. It’s for real. On a bookcase shelf, I have framed the family passport that my mother and her folks came over on. Their immigration path was earlier (1870’2)  but on the other side, it’s still real enough. One of my sister’s has the trunk that my great-grandmother Bridget Trainor used when she came over. (Bridget packed less than I’ll be packing for my upcoming week-long trip to Venice.)

There’s been some movement over the last few years to repurpose Columbus Day to honor native Americans. We owe them something, and Columbus himself was a jerk:

I’m all for setting aside a day to honor Indigenous People. God knows they deserve something more than crummy reservations and the rights to casino gambling.

But if we need to rename Columbus Day – and we probably do – I’d like to see it become Immigrants Day.

Amazingly, there is no national day set aside to celebrate our immigrant past and present. (Massachusetts apparently has an Immigrants Day, but it’s not much of an anything. I’d never heard of it until I found it googling.)

But I’d like to see one. You heard it here.

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