I have decided that I am a citizen of the world. Coming off of St. Patrick’s day where my Irish American wife and my Irish American self scoured the southern California countryside for a decent corned beef and cabbage (and settled instead for King Crab legs) I have decided that I am not Irish.
Even though my great grandmother Clara Riordan, arrived from County Cork in the 1890’s I am not Irish. Even though my great great grandfather Jacob Jacob arrived from Prussia in the 1870’s I am not German or Jewish as he probably was. I’m not Italian like my great grandfather on my Mother’s side Joe Rosso, or even Canadian/American (is that a thing?) as would make me as my Dad’s mother, Myrtle Beck was born in Montreal, her grandparents (the Hoopers) were a British immigrant and Italian immigrant to Canada. With so much other stuff in me I’m not even sure I’m American. Well, I am technically American as I was born just outside of Boston and at last glance it was and still is a part of the USA. It’s just very confusing and I can’t commit to it any longer.
I was brought up Catholic, though I gave it up for Lent one time and never started up again. I played music in Evangelical churches for years, but it turned out that I’m not Republican enough, fundamentalist enough, conservative enough nor insular enough to really make a go of it. I did have fun with some Methodists for a time, they’re cool. I like Rumi and Lao Tsu and meditation, but I’m pretty sure I would wash out of the monastery life very quickly. I am a Citizen of the World.
I don’t want to “Make America White Again,” I mean “Great Again” as the idiot child of moron parents, Donald Trump wants to do. The message is Fascist, oppressive and makes people want to hit each other. His policies (if one can be accurately located) are probably in and of themselves the reasonings that my dear ancestors were escaping from in their homeland and making their way to the new world in the first place. Can you hear the hum of the millions of immigrant bodies spinning in their graves all over Brooklyn? I can.
This is a business blog right? What does this have to do with anything? Only everything. I’m an International Business Person. I travel abroad regularly. I have clients and partners all over the world. I have to think multi-culturally and globally. I have to get along in different environments with people who have very different backgrounds than me, and do you know what? It’s not hard, because by and large, people the world over think the same way and want to get to know me, understand me and do business with me.
I’m still learning of course. I got in trouble at a fancy London social club a few years back because I had improperly placed my silverware on my plate at the end of the meal. This resulted in the Lebanese waiter rebuking me on proper British table etiquette, which resulted in my British hosts getting really (yet politely) pissed at the waiter.
Conversely, the first time I was in Poland, I went in search of Pierogies. I pointed to the real thing on a menu and the non-english speaking waitress flagged down someone to tell me that if I ate what I had chosen, it would make my Gringo stomach drop through my shoes. She chose something lighter in the Pierogi family for me and I felt like Chopin on a Saturday afternoon break. She was beaming that she had saved me from death by potato dumpling.
Do you know what I like? Advertising with inter-racial families, same sex families and that PSA where people are looking at a giant X-Ray of other people behind a screen that turn out to be all kinds of combinations when they come out from behind. They are all as much of a genetic, nationalistic, spiritual Mutt as I am. As we all are. After millions of generations, aren’t we all just this caldron of DNA goo? The same stuff in slightly different variations?
So there you have it. I renounce every bloodline corpuscle in my body in pursuit of being a Citizen of the World. I don’t want to have to fit into the box of being American or Irish/American or Italian, German, Swahili/Eskimo, or whatever else worked its way in there over the eons. I’m a Citizen of the World. Maybe I’m naive to think it’s possible, but if enough of us start to think this way, do business this way, maybe life and business will be in better shape. Maybe xenophobes will have a harder time coming to power.
If I’m wrong? If Trump wins? I’m one quarter Canadian. I’ll write you from Vancouver, eh?