Dear Ireland: Sanctuary!!!

If you are reading this, then I hope you are a member of the The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). If not, then piss off, you are of no use to me.

Dear INIS,

My name is Matthew Cole Leach, and I am a citizen of the United States of America. WAIT — don’t give up on me yet. Please read the entirety of my plea before casting judgment.

You see, I no longer wish to be a citizen of the U.S.A. — not now, not the way things are going in my homeland. In fact, I have not lived in my homeland for several years now. I have been abroad since 2007, making my way in the world as a Teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL). I have been to over 25 different countries, and am currently making my home in South Korea.

I do not wish to pay taxes in my homeland as I do not like what the government there does with its money. They give it all to multi-billionaires who do not need it, or spend it on bombing poor countries of differing ideologies. They do not put the money where it is needed — into health care, education, environmental protections, and infrastructure. They do not care about the people they tax, only the corporations to which they cater.

I could go on for pages about all that is wrong with the American system of government, but I am certain you are already aware. Instead, I would like to plead my case as to why YOU should grant ME an Irish Passport. I would like to eventually become an upstanding, tax-paying Citizen of the Emerald Isle, but for now, I would only require a passport with which to travel, and a chance to prove myself worthy. You see, I have reason to believe that the U.S. Government may someday recall my passport for back taxes and/or other Trumped-up charges. That reason is paranoia. Before you label me a crackpot, may I state that there is another ‘P’-word for people who suspect the U.S. Government is out to get them: Perceptive.

If you look at the below screenshot from my personal 23&Me genealogy page, you will see that I carry within my very DNA a considerable portion of Irish genetic heritage. My maternal grandmother’s family hailed from Ireland, as did a sizeable portion of my paternal lineage (although I never knew them personally). And although I know that this alone does not qualify me as a viable applicant for citizenship, I am hoping that my tendencies, tone, and humor will shine through as indicators of my inner-Irishman.

If you look over this blog (which, now that I mention it, I realize may not be the best evidence to support my plea, but what can I do? There it is), you will see that I enjoy creative pursuits, and writing is one of my favorites. I am no James Joyce or Tommy Tiernan by any means, but I am by nature an easy-going and affable fellow, and am not likely to stir up any trouble with an Irish passport. Indeed, I shall strive to represent the passport I carry with decency, grace, and aplomb.

IRISHANCESTRY

I enjoy literature, film, comedy, and conversation. A good story over a good pint is just as thrilling to me as flying a plane around Mt. Everest (which I have done, see pic below. Actually, the pilot let me “take the yoke” for a full 30 seconds, wisely relieving me of my command before we got close to the actual mountain).

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I also love Irish music, and have several songs by Van Morrison (and The Chieftains), The Pogues, The Cranberries, and U2 in my library. In fact, I ran into two of your legitimate citizens one night in Seoul back in December of 2019. I had never met these fellows before, but I struck up a conversation with them, being the gregarious and pleasant fellow that I am. In the course of our conversation, I somehow managed to finagle one of the hottest tickets in town — to see U2 live in concert at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. I made plans to meet up with them the next day at the venue in time for the show. However, upon waking to the harsh light of day, I figured they had just been drinking and were being overly-friendly, with no real intention of giving me a ticket. I could not blame them at all. After all, an extra ticket to that show could easily have fetched them a handsome price well over face value. I made my way to the train station to return to my residence here, but received a text message just before I boarded. It said, “Where are you? I have your ticket!” Instead of jumping on the train, I jumped into a cab and the rest, as they say, is history. Not being a free-loader, I did give my new friends $100.00 for the ticket (which was still a bargain as we were on the floor, relatively near the stage), and I bought the beer. We remain Facebook friends to this day.

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Me, getting on quite well with a couple of your fine citizens, and Bono, looking on approvingly

If you find it in your heart to be so gracious as to grant my request for a passport, I would be happy, nay, thrilled, to come to Ireland and join you for a pint and regale you with whimsical stories of my travels. More importantly, I would be gracious enough to listen to your own tales of life on this Earth, and to even pay for a round or two out of my own pocket.

I appeal to you and yours rather than to, say, Peru (a country with a very open citizenship process) or even to the country in which I am currently residing, not only because I carry a sizeable portion of the Éirinn Blood in my veins, but because I have a deep-felt connection to, and love for, the culture, the people, and the land of my ancestors (a lot of ’em, anyway). I know that eventually, as the United States slides deeper and deeper into despair and discord, my argument for refugee status will only grow stronger, but I appeal to you now with some amount of foresight in the hopes of sparing you yet another voice in the impending cacophony of similar requests from other disheartened and disillusioned Americans seeking refuge. I wonder if, even now, you are hearing cries for solace from other American hopefuls yearning to breathe free once more?

What do I have to offer Ireland in exchange for a passport (if not someday — dare I dream — citizenship)? Absolutely nothing, other than a fierce sense of loyalty and duty, reliable friendship, and an understanding ear that you may bend at leisure, day or night. And, if required, I will also chip in on taxes.

In the end, I am just a boy, standing in front of a country, asking them to give me a chance. A chance and a passport, so that I may continue my travels, and seek gainful employment, without fear of the United States going all authoritarian and revoking my right to pursue happiness. If you help me, I will help you with whatever it is Ireland may need help with these days. That Brexit is proving to be a problem, isn’t it? Screwing up trade with Northern Ireland and all that? Well, I will rally against Brexit! I don’t care if it is too late. Or whatever you need, you tell me. I’ll even serve in your military, if that’s a requirement. I’m old and out of shape, but I can stop a bullet with the best of ’em.

Finally, if you require character witnesses, I have several friends from countries I have visited and/or lived in who would vouch for my decency, kindness, and reliability (a few of them are even Irish citizens! See above) as a human being. And in the end, isn’t that to which it all comes down?

Now I must end my plea and send a link to your Consulate, as there are a bunch of drunken Koreans outside my window breaking my concentration and distracting me from the task at hand by singing the songs of their people. And I do so wish I could be singing the songs of MY people. “Irish Heartbeat” comes to mind, as do “Star of the County Down” and “Raglan Road.” I guess I really have nothing more to say other than HELP!!! My country has lost its God-forsaken mind!

Thank you for your time and kind, kind consideration.

PS: I coined a new term today — Formerican: Former American; an American living abroad, so appalled by what the USA has become that they have no intention of ever going back. See also: New American Refugee

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