Of Padraig and Principle: Why Americans Got Saint Patrick's Day Wrong Again

Yesterday was another St. Patrick's Day. While most Americans seem to think that it's an excuse to drink heavily throughout the day and to ape the worst caricatures of "Irishness," the Feast Day of St. Patrick is a cornerstone of the nation of my own heritage and a cornerstone of a people who have been able to come back from terrible colonization and abuses both at home and abroad. While the Irish now might seem integrated into American life, the time wasn't so long ago that the Irish were reviled around the world as unfit for civilized society. It is another personal reminder of the frailty of respect unless there is vigilance, another lesson in the imperatives that we all must act upon to expand and preserve the principles laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Once again, with some exceptions here and there in the form of protest, the American pop culture machine mostly renders St. Patrick's Day without inspiration and with a lot of rowdiness. The Obama administration has, again, failed to use this holiday and Feast Day as a lesson to teach and learn.

Read More