Happy St. Patrick’s Day

17 Mar

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

Over in Ireland, this is a religious day honoring their patron Saint.  In America, it is everyone’s excuse to be “Irish” for a day.

For many, that means getting rip roarin’ drunk. Or tell stupid jokes about sheep. Or fight.

Led me to think which other cultures or ethnicities or religions in America so freely tolerate such outlandish stereotypes with a smile, like the Irish do.

My alma mater’s mascot, the Cossack, was changed years ago because the Jewish Defense League found it offensive.

But Notre Dame is still sporting a little Leprechaun with fists raised, ready to fight.

A satirist was recently threatened with death when he depicted Mohammed in a cartoon.  But the Irish smile and grin at most religious jokes.

If one so much as makes a sideways remark these days about gays and lesbians, it is straight to the societal dog house.  But assuming all Irish are drunken louts is quite all right.

This isn’t a complaint. Just an observation.  I’m proud of my Irish heritage. Proud of the societal input that nation has given the world.  I’m proud the Irish can be so self-effacing and allow a good joke at their expense while other cultures tie themselves up in knots at the tiniest of sleights.

So, go on then, pretend to be Irish for a day.  Just remember, aside from one too many Guiness, the Irish people played a critical role in preserving books and liturgy from the destruction of the Huns in the early middle ages.

Remember it was the Irish who ordained today’s modern university systems.

It was St. Patrick himself, who was the first human being to speak out unequivocally against human slavery.

It was the Irish monkish scribes  in the 6th century who formed the manner of making books.  Yes, books.

Music, playwrights, authors, film makers and artists galore populate a vast culture known as Irish.  Think of that today when you raise your glass and say “Slainte!”

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