A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day Tolerance

Please don't get me wrong, I'm all for each and every one of us celebrating our heritage. I am also all for any excuse to get sloppy drunk at the drop of a hat, except when it involves the operation of a motor vehicle or other heavy equipment. Of course getting sloppy drunk can have its adverse consequences, like throwing up on a leprechaun. Or the little guys could likewise return the favor by tossing the cookies on your shoes. (This should not in any way be confused with that species of hollow tree-dwelling creatures who could throw their hard, crunchy baked products at anyone who angers them.)

St Patrick’s Day has evolved into both of these. I realize it's a religious feast day for one of the saints, but I seldom hear anyone celebrating it as such. All we hear is how it’s a celebration of everything that's Irish and Ireland. "Kiss me for luck! I'm Irish" is a common phrase on this day. It seems that everyone is allowed to be Irish for one day, unless of course you happen to be gay, as New York City tried to implement a few years ago. This is the point at which celebrating one's heritage could cross the line.

This is why I don't get overly excited about occasions like this, particularly when they are celebrated at the expense of another cultural or ethnic group. Sometimes it smacks of ethnocentricity, which is one step towards bigotry and prejudice, which is one step towards violence and mass murder. I'll give an example and I'll use my own heritage: German. One time Germany celebrated its heritage and millions died; we remember it now as World War Two. Okay, that's an extreme example, but a feast day for a saint shouldn't become an exercise in bigotry.

If everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day then let everyone be Irish ... no conditions!

If everyone is Italian on Columbus Day then let everyone be Italian ... no conditions!

So, a happy and safe St Patrick’s Day to all! Drink and love wisely, and for goodness sake, don't step on any rowdy leprechauns!


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