Your RDA of Irony

Pangloss Buchanan Gives Thanks

Last weekend Patrick Buchanan told African-Americans that they should be singing “Zippity-Do-Dah”.

America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Actually, more than one million signed aboard the Middle Passage pleasure cruises to North America but half of them apparently did not complete the tour. Those midnight buffets can kill you.

And lest he be thought an ingrate, Mr. Buchanan will certainly want to thank England for its solicitous attention to Ireland. Eight centuries of companionship! But for Britain’s encouragement, the Irish might never have learned the English language or realized the excitement of adhering to Catholicism. The Irish construction industry can never repay its debt to Oliver Cromwell and the urban renewal he inspired in the towns and villages he visited.

England also demonstrated a consistent concern for Irish health. Lest they succumb to indolence and cholesterol on the more fertile lands, the Irish were encouraged to take a vigorous hike to the Western half of the island. There, they could enjoy a real aerobic workout on soil that was perfect for an all-potato diet. Thanks to these British benefits, some Irish became “entrepreneurs”; the luckier ones received scholarships to Australia. (The rest earned public recognition as the patrons of British carpentry.)

And when the potato crop failed, the British landowners wouldn’t think of letting the Irish stay on infertile land. The open road awaited them with ample ditches where they could lie down and sleep away their troubles forever. Those who made it to a port and still had the few pence for fare enjoyed the benefits of Britain’s maritime policies. There was no need to encumber migration with safety or hygiene minimums for ships; so in the 1840s the Irish enjoyed a Middle Passage of their own. Arriving in America, they found the American Protestants were just as friendly as the British ones. All those signs “No Irish Here” were laments rather than threats. And what could better an expression of a warm welcome than a flammable Catholic Church?

But the Irish soon demonstrated their assimilation by giving a similar reception to the next wave of immigrants. The Italians, Slavs and Jews got a boisterous Irish welcome, a type of cordiality that Pat Buchanan still observes. Ask any Hispanic. Buchanan is living his American Dream, making the best of being the worst.

  1. Alan says:

    Slavery is indeed the cruelest example of the two-edged sword. Would Clarence Thomas rather have been born free in Haiti?

  2. Clarence would have supported the Confederacy.

  3. Whether it is my lack of imagination or just plain bad manners, I can’t think of a reason to write a thank you note to Adolf Hitler. Of course, Pat Buchanan would do it for me.

  4. Peggles says:

    I’d like Pat to deliver your thank you note to Adolf in person.

    Jonathan Swift was right.

  5. Peg: What did Swift say?

  6. Peggles says:

    I was thinking of “A Modest Proposal.”

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