I’m as Irish as the next guy (if the next guy is half Irish) but I stopped celebrating Saint Patrick’s day a long time ago. I don’t begrudge anyone the holiday, I just don’t participate. Too many mixed memories. (To the extent that I remember….)
But I do want to mention one St Patrick’s day going back some years because it relates to some current news:
There was no wearin’ of the pink once again in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade down Fifth Avenue. For 18 years the Ancient Order of Hibernians which organizes the parade has barred Irish gay groups from marching.
At 57th Street, a small group of Irish American gays and lesbians staged a quiet protest. But among the hundreds of thousands who lined the streets they were virtually invisible.
The city’s highest ranking gay politician, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, boycotted the parade again this year.
Same old story, and it’s a story that needs to change soon. Shame on New York and everyone Irish who is not in the streets protesting this. And non Irish. But that is not really what I wanted to remember…
… and I may be remembering this wrong, but… there was a similar situation in Boston many years ago, whereby the Gay Irish group was not allowed in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Then one day Boston got a new Mayor, a guy named Flynn, as Irish as the next guy, assuming the next guy is 150% Irish. (No inbreeding jokes, please.) And as the run up to the first Saint Patrick’s day parade occurred, after Flynn’s installation as Mayor, I think everyone was assuming a similar fight as previous years, with the Gay Irish Group getting banned form the parade again.
But instead, Flynn issued them a permit without comment. When confronted by the press, his comment, if I recall correctly, was something like this: “Hey, they’re as Irish as the next guys. They can march in the parade.”
Now, unfortunately, that was not the end of it for Boston. The fight continued, and I’m pretty sure gays got banned again very quickly from the St Patrick’s day parade, there were subsequent court battles, the parade has been canceled in order to ensure that no gay people wearing green were allowed to march anywhere, and so on and so forth. And it’s worse there now than it is anywhere. But there was this moment in time when reason prevailed…..
This appears to be a self-perpetuated ethic trait of the Irish. To be thickheaded morons. So right now, I think of myself as half non-Irish, and I shall be so until the day that my fellow countrypersons get it together.