By Nathan Barton
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Friday, a number of places held their St. Patrick’s Day parades on Saturday or Sunday. As with Christmas, it appears that St. Paddy’s Day is a political football. The news was filled with stories about who could (and couldn’t) march in parades in various cities, and about cities where it didn’t seem to matter. And how other groups turned this “allow” or “not allow” into excuses to beat their own drums and push their own agendas – their own political agendas.
It strikes me as nothing more than foolish posturing and arguing. But it consumes a great deal of time, energy and money. And it is a distraction from more serious things.
St. Paddy’s Day parades are an American thing, though now exported to Ireland. They supposedly celebrate “Irish” heritage. (But it is about as “Irish” as most Mexican and Chinese food here in the Fifty States is either Mexican or Chineses!) Although fun (at least to some people) they are primarily political, with enough cultural trappings to be “neutral” (or at least they used to be). Now, the fun may be going away. Leaving only the political.
And it includes, oddly enough, this growing worship of the military and veterans in the Fifty States. Apparently, in a number of cities, veterans’ groups are now the predominant presence in these parades. Yes, there are still the pipe bands (Irish and Scots – go figure) and there are the pretty girls in short green dresses wearing shamrocks on My Favorite Martian headgear. And there are all the orange, white, and green banners. But there are the color guards (active, reserve, and veteran) and apparently there are the various veterans organizations and their marching groups. Veterans Day and Memorial Day and the Fourth of July and Armed Forces Day are not enough: the vets must march to show how they love Irish culture as well. And to make sure that people watching and participating in the parade have yet another opportunity to worship the military and canonize the veterans.
This is, apparently, to show that they fully buy into and support AND endorse whatever political correctness is currently a hot idea. At least, as long as that includes endorsing and embracing the agendas of various special interest groups, and as long as those interest groups have something to do with homosexual political posturing. Not surprising, a lot of places (San Francisco is not one of them) think that sort of blatant political and cultural type thing isn’t a necessary part of celebrating Irish politics and culture here in the Fifty States.
That riles those who believe that EVERY event and EVERY organization should support and endorse and embrace their political agenda. It isn’t enough to say “sorry that doesn’t fit in with our intent, or with our beliefs, or within our time.”
Which is maybe the reason we have so much upset this year about homosexual presences in “Irish” Saint Patrick’s Day parades. After all, the veterans have been VERY successful in co-opting these parades to push THEIR agenda. Why not the homosexuals, especially if they can create (or push) a link with veterans – of course, all those “hidden” and then “don’t ask/don’t tell” and now openly-homosexual, transgender, cross-dressing serving troops? But it doesn’t stop there. The veterans learned from the politicians, who usurp the parades during every election year to strut their stuff and urge the marchers and the watchers to vote for them and their party and their agenda. What used to be fun is now messed up by politics.
My solution to this is probably too simple for these various groups. Let Saint Patrick’s Day parades be about – gasp! – Saint Patrick and Irish history and culture. Leave out the veterans groups, leave out the homosexual and the women’s rights and the “support Trump” groups – and maybe even the police and sheriff’s departments and the other things. Maybe just lots of orange and green and shamrocks and green soda and beer and milkshakes. And just to be nice, include “self-identified” people of Irish Ancestry (POIA) as well as those who really are. Leave the politics out of it. And maybe even the politicians!
Mama’s Note: Never did care much for parades myself. I quit watching the Rose Parade on TV probably 30 years ago. The cameras very seldom showed the horses… and that’s the only part I really liked. Never did figure out what logical purpose a parade served, but that’s just me. As long as I wasn’t being forced to help pay for it, I wouldn’t care. They don’t block the street for long here, and nobody is trying to force horses to wear diapers.