St. Patrick Parade Isn't Quite Wheezing but It's Time to Think about a Rescue Plan

Monday, March 21, 2016

The official celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston came mercifully to a close with the parade yesterday in Southie.

What, if anything, will halt the forces transforming South Boston (and other parts of the city) into precious, amenity-filled enclaves for the winners in today’s knowledge economy?

Meanwhile, some folks haven’t gotten over that gay groups are now welcomed, never mind allowed, into the parade.

A group called MassResistance issued a press release this past Monday, March 14, saying it was joining the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts in calling for “an end to the use of St. Patrick’s name in the formerly traditional Irish-Catholic parade.”

MassResistance believes the inclusion of OUTVETS and Boston Pride in the parade “is a disgrace to the Catholic saint, who is regarded as a spiritual reformer in Ireland, and is in direct opposition to Catholic doctrine on homosexual behavior.”

MassResistance demands that the Allied War Veterans Council, the parade sponsor/organizer, remove St. Patrick’s name and rebrand the event the “Evacuation Day Parade,” commemorating the March 17, 1776, withdrawal of British forces from Boston during the Revolutionary War.

I don’t know if the parade was really ever a religious event; it has certainly not been such in my fairly extensive lifetime. 

Though named for a saint, the parade has basically been an occasion to celebrate how well the Irish and their descendants have done in America.  It’s been a fairly respectable excuse to have a good time for a few hours, which is perfectly valid, social- and civic-wise, provided injuries and arrests are kept to a minimum.

At some point, most likely when the entire membership of the Allied War Veterans Council can fit comfortably into a single Uber car and no one living in Southie can count even one Irish immigrant as a grandparent, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will die a peaceful, natural death.  Everything slides quietly into the dustbin of history eventually…unless, unless, a strong economic justification exists for keeping it alive.

The inevitable demise of the parade was on my mind the other day when I happened upon an article on the State House News Service web site regarding the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, wherein the Campaign rebuked organizations like the Massachusetts Hospital Association for opposing the ballot question the Campaign is sponsoring to legalize the recreational use of everyone’s favorite intoxicating plant.

The article said the Campaign had rented space on a digital billboard in Boston’s Seaport District, a.k.a. the South Boston Waterfront, to promulgate a message featuring pictures of a glass of whiskey, a glass of green beer and a marijuana leaf, with these words beneath each image: “Liquor,” “Beer,” “Safer.”

“Our goal,” said Will Luzier of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, “is to make this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities as educational as they are enjoyable.  While folks are celebrating with a pint of green beer or a glass of whiskey, we want them to think about the fact that marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance.”

Added Luzier, who served with distinction for years on the staff of former Watertown state senator Stevie Tolman: “Marijuana is less toxic than alcohol, it’s less addictive, and it’s far less likely to contribute to violent crimes and reckless behavior.”

(Translation: Young Irish-American male inebriates would be more manageable on pot than on booze.) 

Luzier’s press release statement continued: “It simply doesn’t make sense to have laws that allow the use of alcohol, yet punish adults who prefer a less harmful substance.”

Imagine you are still on the right side of the ground in March of 2041, twenty-five years hence, and that you’re physically capable of getting yourself to South Boston.  If so, you should not be surprised to see that some outfit with a name like Massasoit Marijuana Marts (Serving ALL Your Recreational Needs at 50 Great Locations!) is sponsoring the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. 








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