Monday, March 17, 2008

Why We Should Not Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

In the past, I've enjoyed celebrating St. Patty's Day because it meant eating corned beef and cabbage. I'm an extremely light drinker (1-2 drinks a month) and could go without drinking altogether. So, truthfully, I don't look for excuses to drink - let alone drink beer that's been pumped full of artificial dyes to turn it green.

But even if you don't drink, it's fun to go to a local dive where you can mingle with other people who don't want to stay at home. St. Patty's Day is an excuse to dress and act extravagantly, eat foods you don't normally eat, and drink more than you should. (At this point, I'm sure many of you are nodding vigorously and asking "What's wrong with that?")

St. Patrick's Day sends two wrong messages:

1. Irish people are drunken sots.
2. We celebrate diversity.

Let's tackle the first one. Sure, you know someone who's Irish who isn't a drunken sot, but deep down inside you know the stereotypical image. If we're trying to get away from stereotyping races and cultures, don't we wish to discard this?

Are all Scots miserly? Are all Mexican immigrants illegal? Are all blacks criminals? Are all rich white people snobs? Are all convenience store owners Indian? ...well, OK, I might give you that last one (kidding!). But you get the picture.

Well what about the second? Don't we see t-shirts and bumperstickers everywhere, commanding "celebrate diversity!" Why, there's even a month set aside in which we're preached at incessantly to celebrate it. Celebrate it how I don't know, but we're supposed to be celebrating it continually, it seems.

OK, who went to civics class when they were in 7th or 8th grade? Let me see a show of hands! Remember how our teacher kept driving home that the USA was one big "Melting Pot"? At the time, there were many of us who didn't even know who or what our ancestors were. We only knew we were American.

Sure, some of our ancestors didn't assimilate right away. And in New York, we still have Chinatown and Little Italy and other separatist enclaves. But the truth is that our ancestors understood a powerful truth. They might have lived in Little Italy, but they still worked in America, and to be useful citizens, they had to learn English and American customs.

Almost everyone who came to America loved America. They may have come from all over the globe, but they were loyal to the country that gave them the opportunities they couldn't find elsewhere. Most of these early immigrants had entered legally and came with their own sets of morals and values that were still based on Christianity. Generally, these morals and values were common throughout the USA at the time, and it was these values that provided the true glue that stuck us all together.*

Now we look into the pot and we no longer see a fondue. Instead, we see a swirling, seething mixture of unidentifiable chunks. We are no longer a melting pot: We are now a rather horrid stew.

Abraham Lincoln once said "A nation divided against itself cannot long stand". Ultimately, it doesn't take good old Abe to tell us this. We know it if we are blessed with common sense. And yet, we are more divided than ever.

There is strong evidence that we are sinking into increased lawlessness due to a lack of religion which serves as "Big Brother" even when the law isn't around to enforce good behavior. Much of our lack of cohesion comes from the lack of loyalty to our fellow man. This loyalty is taught in many of the major religions which have been abandoned today to the Cult of Self.

(Incidentally, I have friends who are atheist and swear they have their own moral codes that they rigidly stick to, but I always ask "Then who do you answer to when you break your own rules?" They shrug and admit it's a flawed system.)

Of course America isn't alone in leaving religion behind. There are many countries that have sunk even lower than we have.

It is today's Cult of Self that keeps us diversified. Most Americans today secretly believe that they are more special than their fellow man. We have neglected Christ's admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves and believe we should love our neighbors a little more than we love our 99 cent chicken nuggets.

For those of you who are browbeating yourselves at this moment, please stop it immediately. The fact that you are taking this at all seriously means that it doesn't apply to you. In fact, some of you are probably overdoing it.

So who are the people who do not love us as much as they love themselves? Some of them are the illegal immigrants, who believe that the ends justify the means. They think we're a bunch of rich, spoiled pigs who are keeping all the goodies to ourselves. They believe they're entitled to help unload a little of the perceived American largesse.

Others are the legal immigrants who refuse to adapt. Many of these legal immigrants fly their former country's flag, speak their former country's language (and expect us to accomodate this), and tell us how their country is superior to America for so many reasons that they've lost count. Why they choose to stay in America is beyond me.

Finally, we have our own citizens who do not appreciate the freedoms and opportunities to be found in America. Although they have no knowledge of their ancestral countries, they cling to them like a drowning man clings to a raft. In order to make up for their own shortcomings, they focus their hopes and dreams on a mythical place that would, in all reality, be very unpleasant for them to adapt to. People who indulge in such fantasies speak longingly of the motherland (see Barack Obama's Church for one example).

Celebrating St. Patty's Day is no longer pure, innocent fun. In our modern times, diversity has become divisive. Do we really wish to encourage it further?

*Please note that there are other religions that teach similar concepts (as Christianity) and thus their cultures were/are also easily assimilated into American culture. Some of those religions include, but are not limited to, Judaism, Buddhism, Bahaiism, Hinduism, Lamaism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Jainism, etc.


Scott said...

I think that culture is something that constantly involves and I do believe that anything that increases diversity only improves a society. Without it we become intolerant and have no appreciation of the experience of our fellow man. I say embrace St Paddy's day as the good natured fun that it is!

Groovy Mom said...

Good post! I'm not sure I agree that celebrating St. Patrick's Day is that divisive, but then I've never really celebrated it except to make sure I wore green in school on that day so I didn't get pinched. I do agree with your other comments about leaving religion behind and the "cult of self" and about people in this country that don't appreciate what an amazing country this is.

M@ said...

It's sacrilege to suggest that diversity may not exactly be a strength but something we tolerate.

Here's my bumper sticker or T-shirt slogan: Tolerate Diversity, Y'all.

United We Lay said...

I have a lot to add, but I'm finally on vacation and mom has the biy. I'll write after my nap! Great post!

The Lazy Iguana said...

Whats the difference in Martin Luther King Day and St. Patrick's Day??

On Saint Patrick's Day everyone wants to be Irish.

Now I know you are laughing at this joke so do not try to tell me I am horrible for telling it. Everyone I told the joke to laughed and then said "thats terrible". But who is worse? Me for telling it or YOU for laughing? Huh? I say you for laughing. Or at the very least, the joke teller is just as bad as the laugher.

And it is true. EVERYONE wants to be Irish on that one day. Everyone drinks green beer, because Americans like crappy beer with food coloring in it. And everyone is wearing green and stuff. Even people who no speakie de engliee mas bueno sitting at the sidewalk cafe in Pequeno Havana.

It is not about a day to celebrate the guy who claimed to remove all the snakes from Ireland - even if there never were any snakes in Ireland to remove in the first place. And in Ireland I do not even know if it is a major holiday or not. But here it is "drink beer day" promoted by Guinness Stout and Harp Lager. It is a marketed fake holiday to sell things - mostly alcohol.

I did not fall for that crap. I did not drink any green beer. I was drinking Guinness and that stuff is too dark to dye any color.

Really - I think you are overdoing it. Everyone knows the Scots ARE miserly and Irish people DO drink a lot. Oh also Scots speak some strange language they claim is English but nobody who speaks English can understand a single word they say. Oh they also give horrible directions, so if you need to know how to get somewhere I would ask the drunken Irish guy.

Who do the religious people answer to when they break moral codes? How do they justify being "pro life" and pro capital punishment at the same time? Some life is worth more than other life? OK I will pretty much agree with that - but I can pick and choose my moral codes! However if you are bound to a rigid set of codes as printed in a handbook, then you loose that flexibility.

Chinatown and Little Italy was a reaction to not being wanted in the community at large. By the time the Italians came over the Irish had the place locked up. So "Irish need not apply" signs were replaced by "Bloody Wops need not apply".

There is no "Little Ireland" because that would be 80% of New York City and Chicago and so on. Like in Miami. There is no more Little Havana, just North Havana. Little Cuba turned into the while County.

But we still do not want illegal Mexicans - for they are lazy and only want to come here to take over the street vending business by over loading the good intersections with family members selling all manners of produce. How can the people selling Churros compete? They are legal even though they just floated here last week and have to make money to buy the charter plane ticket to go back to Cuba to visit family and bring as much loot as the flight will allow them to pack into the plane! And here come the illegal Mexicans who will work cheaper.

Little Italy and Chinatown and places like that are now promoted by cities to attract more visitors. They are ethnic tourist traps. Menus and street signs are in English however. Except in Chinatown where people still say "Engrish" because they can pronounce L and so they just reave out that retter. And decorate windows with hanging dressed ducks.

But really, there is nothing wrong with celebrating diversity

Live, Love, Laugh said...

wow I haven't been to your blog in a long time and I have missed coming here. You always post interesting posts, I will be back soon!!!

Paul said...

Okay, the way I see it...wait: could you repeat that?

Did you know that St. Patrico was neither Irish nor Catolico?

British/Church of England.

(I hear there's a move underfoot to make St. Pat's Day a national holiday in this country. Uh, would that be mixing church and state? Well, first of all, it ain't gonna happen and second of all St. Pat ain't red, white and blue. Shoot, it aren't even a holiday in Arland, don'tcha know.)

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I think St Patrick Day is an excuse for drinkers to drink too much and for those who are interested to enjoy what fringes of Irish culture are exposed during the St.Paticks day season. (In Savannah they not only celebrate St. Pats but they have a lot of Irish culture things, fairs, craft things, etc. I see no problem. In New York they not only celebrate St. Patricks Day but Columbus
Day, Martin Luther King Day, and if you are in the right neighborhood, Cinco de May. In Rhode Island, when I lived there, they celebrated Casimir Pulaski Day (the Pole who fought in our Revolution.) The Mormons celebrate Pioneer Day. If you don't choose to celebrate St Patricks day, fine, but when the large Irish Catholic community in Savannah does St. Pats I love to watch on TV. (I attended once, and it is a little like spending the entire day in a Rush Hour Subway station in NYC.

alan said...

St Paddy was Roman English. The Irish try to make out he was Scottish as they loathe the English. I am English in Washington State and I read that the Irish Nationalists murdered 2 young British soldiers last week while the soldiers were in civvies and buying a pizza - a few days later they murdered a police officer who was due to retire soon. How can I wave Irish flags and engage in Irish nationalism a few days after that ? Paddies day is either a ra-ra do for Catholics or Irish nationalism - take your pick. I think the world would be better off with far less nationalism and far less religion.
You don't see Americans celebrating St George's day even though England gave them their language and set the country up in 1607 and the British Colonies are represented by the 13 stripes on the flag. The US owes far more to England in terms of language and law and culture than it ever did to Ireland, but it is rarely acknowledged.

Anonymous said...

Alan, the English did not 'give' their language to Americans. The language was forced upon the people they colonized otherwise they faced persecution. And also, the British shouldn't be in Ireland in the first place so why shouldn't Irish people attack foreign occupiers?

And whoever said St Patrick was English and a member of the Church of England, HaHa isn't education a marvelous thing? No one knows exactly where St. Patrick was born, it was more than likely Britain or North of France, AND the Church of England didn't exist until a 1,000 years after his death.

St. Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine I in 431.