I don't understand why big deals are made of little things. This time it's the "should the lights at the First Baptist Church be green to commemorate St. Patrick's Day" battle here in Watertown, NY. It started off innocent enough. The North Country Goes Green Irish Festival requested of City Council that they be allowed to change the lights of the Clock Tower to green to represent Irish Pride. Back at Christmastime the lights were changed to red and green for the holiday, so the people at NCGG thought "why not!" Not a big deal, right? Wrong!! This simple request became somewhat of a small battle with some members of the Council saying it was a great idea and some, including our Mayor, questioning if it was a good idea, whether it would open the flood gates for other organization requesting their color (like purple for Alzheimer's, pink for Breast Cancer), the cost and safety, and if people would be confused of the significance (whatever that means...pretty sure we can all figure out green = St. Paddy's Day).
Anyway, the Irish prevailed and the lights are now a glorious green on Public Square. Victory, right!? WRONG!! Now the pastor of the First Baptist says he wants the lights gone because even though they are not Anti-Irish or Anti-Festival, they are anti-drinking and they believe that the Irish Festival promotes drinking.
Sorry, Pastor Smith, but I have to put my two cents in. The lights are not green because of the festival and it's drinking. They are green to represent the pride and sacrifice of the Irish in this community and this country. I read an op-ed piece a few years back, which I will repost tomorrow if I can find it, that simply stated that if you are a person of Irish decent today, you are here because way back, an ancestor of yours survived. If you can trace your blood line to an Irish person, you are decended from a people that survived genocide, famine, and prejudice. They had to leave their homeland to survive and we, their decendants, are a testament to that tenacity and spirit.
Éirinn go Brách