The Power of Green


“Climb up onto my lap,” my grandpa beckoned with his arms outstretched, a contagious smile on his face. “Now, my memory ain’t what it used to be, but did I ever tell you about our family’s history?”

“Nope!” I lied, my eyes fixed on his giant container of bubble gum. I knew that if I let him tell the story again he would reward me with a few pieces of it, and he did.

As I unwrapped the treats and climbed onto his lap, my grandpa told a story which may sound familiar to you. He told me of a multitude of people forced to leave their homeland and travel across the Atlantic Ocean to an unwelcoming America. He said that many Americans grossly stereotyped these people as violent, alcoholic, and prone to crime. He told me that this group faced constant job discrimination and seemed to be strangled by the grip of poverty. He said that these people were at odds with the police, and that the Democratic Party wooed them in large numbers. With a look of disgust, my grandpa recounted that the self-righteous showered them with pseudo-praise for their abilities in sports, song, and dance, while the most deplorable called them “less-evolved” and depicted them as gorillas.

“Now, do you know which country John F. Kennedy’s ancestors came from?”

“Ireland,” I answered, all pretenses removed now that the gum was safely in my mouth.

“Good! And how did our ancestors, who struggled for so long, end up with a president to their name?”

“I don’t know…” I mumbled, not in a return to the facade, but in a lapse of memory.

“Because despite its flaws, America is a beautiful country and it rewards hard work,” he said with a revealing look in his eyes. He didn’t just speak the words—he also knew their joy.

My grandfather went on to tell me that John F. Kennedy’s great-grandparents were impoverished Irish immigrants, his grandparents were a modest success, and due to hard work his parents attained a fortune which paved the way for Kennedy to become president. My grandpa tied this story into the narrative of many Irish Americans who overcame their struggles by improving relations with the police, becoming the police, earning quality educations to secure higher paying jobs, and running for and attaining political office.

Due to an initial, remorseful suspicion of their truthfulness, I have since done research into these stories my grandpa told me. To my delight, the history to which he subscribed has fallen under the criticism of only a few scholars, and they have themselves been ridiculed for their untruthful critiques. But beyond just telling me the history, my grandfather taught me its significance: America truly allows the discriminated against to succeed, and if they so choose, to surpass the discriminators. This is a result of America’s free market which says, “If you will not hire or sell to qualified people due to their ethnicity or race, then other businesses will steal your profit by hiring and selling to those whom you snubbed.”

Yes, the color capitalism truly cares about is green, and I don’t mean the Irish. Although, Irish Americans are doing quite well financially. According to a census taken in 2014, Irish Americans possess a greater median household income than whites as whole (American Community Survey). To further the point, the race with the highest median household income (Asian Americans) has itself suffered gross racial-based discrimination in America (American Community Survey). And though the left may try to write off the latter group’s success as merely the result of Asian privilege, it serves as powerful evidence of America’s status as a meritocracy, and a validation of my grandpa’s claim to its willingness to reward cultures—and more importantly, people—who value education and hard work. My grandpa truly loved his country and he taught me to do the same. If he were alive today, I am certain I would hear him say, “America does not need to be made great again, it already is.”

This article was written by Drew Sneed. Click here to see more of Drew’s work.