A learned scientist and colorist called Wassily Kandinsky recently published a major work on the symbolic powers of colors. He produced a Circle of Colors as part of that study, and the qualities and powers he ascribed to the various colors are interesting indeed.
His most potent colors around his circle are what he called the primitive colors of yellow, blue and red. (Are there global political significances there?) Close behind comes what he describes as the mixed colors of orange, violet and green.
I crown Green with a capital letter because we Irish are the original Green Party, and this is the special Green month of March with its St. Patrick's Day pinnacle across the world.
We were Green before the rest of the world
discovered in the last decade that Green is the most important color and concept of all.
Kadinsky, in describing its symbolic characteristics, says that Green is "refreshing, restful and lively." And sure are these not the qualities that we dramatically have brought to the world stage over the centuries?
Ironically, given our domestic history here at home, Kandinsky says that orange "can be warm and outgoing, almost approaching the viewer, but with a preponderance of yellow, orange becomes shrill and unpleasant.”
You can read and decipher that any way you wish!
Anyway, my main point is that in these days, in this month, and on one day in particular all of us should be so proud to be Irish, the original Greens. Even today many of us are not proud enough of our priceless Green birthright.
Think globally, for example, and is there any other small island nation, longtime impoverished to boot, which has the spirit and influence to reach out on its national feast day to all the corners of the world, has the Green soul to send marching bands and explosions of music and merrymaking through the hearts of the great cities of all the continents? I cannot think of any.
This is the time to strut our Green stuff again. This is the time and the month and the day when our genetic inheritance is worth gold.
You Irish Americans mark the big Green day dramatically powerfully, especially in New York. You do us proud.
You have a right to be proud too. The starving thousands who arrived hungry and penniless from the coffin ships have been a credit to their home island.
They worked harder than any, and with skill and enterprise, to become one of the most productive elements of the society that made their adopted country the most powerful in the world.
They drove themselves up out of the gutters all the way to the White House. They worked together and they played together and they did not forget those back home.
They brought their Green music and Green songs and all that liveliness and charm and enterprise to the emerging nation they were helping to build.
This month of this new century are there not about 40 or 50 million Americans with?
Irish blood in their veins? They fought and died for their adopted country in World War II. They fought and died in Vietnam.
Today they are still fighting and sadly dying in the cruel wastelands of Afghanistan and elsewhere in the cockpit of the Middle East. They have always served the land that gave them freedom most nobly.
This is the time to strut our Green stuff surely. A fleeting economic downturn has always been a part of the world's history. These things come and go.
As we remember those who fought and died for the U.S. it is also a time to proudly remember the Pearse generation and those that came after them who fought for possession of the homeland.
We of the first Green Party are right to be proud of those who were the first revolutionaries to drive the English, most powerful colonists of all, out of the greater part of their homeland.
If we were not as Green as we are we would have been totally subsumed into a colonial culture strong enough to spread its tongue right around the globe.
Yet the Irish areas that are called the Gaeltacht, where the mother tongue is Gaelic, are still as strong and lively as ever in 2010. We should be as proud of that as of the growth and popularity of our native games of hurling and camogie and Gaelic football.
Yes, we have a lot of stuff to strut!
I am being maybe a little maudlin, going a small bit over the top. Why not do that inside the season of St. Patrick's Day?
For too long we have been cursed with some kind of inferiority complex. It is time to shed it and maybe let the pendulum swing an inch too far the other way.
Why bloody not? We are the original Greens, and we are a bit special!
Our many flaws and faults and national warts are well chronicled, and we can accept that. But in the flawed family of all the nations we are still more than a little bit special.
We are the life and soul of the international party. We celebrate life and living, even in the hard times.
We are never the first to go to bed, but we still turn up for work the next morning. Our blackguards are larger than life, yes, but so are our lighthouse people like Mary Robinson and Bono and Mary McAleese and Bob Geldof.
We consistently punch above our weight on the world stage. We have the kind of sharply defined national image which other nations lack, and it is overwhelmingly positive.
We are the original Green Party, all of us, and we have cause to be very proud of that!
So let’s strut our Green stuff all this month, not just on St. Patrick's Day. Let’s do it both at home and abroad where you are.
Let us be proud of being Irish, of being that wee bit special, of being the life and soul of
the party that is the spinning of this wonderful world.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!