Sunday March 17, 2019
Ask any neighborhood resident west of Central Expressway about St. Patrick’s Parade day and they will tell you that it is the day from hell. Why…?
The reason is because our neighborhoods are besieged with parade goers parking bumper to bumper on both sides of our narrow neighborhood streets. Our sidewalks are filled with parade pedestrians walking to and from the parade area all day long. Beer bottles, plastic cups, food wrappers, candy wrappers, and green beads get strewn everywhere in the sidewalks, our lawns, and in the street. As the day wears on, the more intoxicated of the hoards end up urinating in the alleys, our driveways, and even our front yards. Some vomit in the street, or anywhere they happen to be. The incessant booming car stereos, parade announcers, bar bands, and loud car engines continues all day long, well into the evening hours. And when these parade goers finally get back to their cars, they head out on our neighborhood streets and local highways intoxicated and dangerous to themselves and other drivers.
Now this event primarily benefits the parade organizers and the local businesses that line the parade route. It also primarily benefits the City of Dallas, as they get all the license fees and overrides on what parade fees are paid and tax revenues on what products, food, drinks, etc are sold. But neither the parade organizers nor the City of Dallas lifts a finger to help with crowd control, sanitation, traffic control, or police protection in the neighborhoods they send their parade goers into to park. They leave these neighborhoods to fend for themselves in terms of keeping their property and their families safe, and to clean-up for themselves the enormous mess of trash, vomit, and urine left behind the next day.
Oddly enough, the City of University Park does care about its residents, even though they stand to profit nothing from this parade event. The streets were patrolled often by University Park Police and citations issued when civil infractions were observed. But patrolling Dallas isn’t really their job, in spite of the fact that Dallas just wants to maximize their revenues and allow these parade organizers to maximize their profits.
I’ve lived in a lot of different cities, each with their own main parade days, and none of them ever turned their back on their residents during their events like Dallas has. First, they organized public transportation to and from their events. Second, they increased police patrol in areas adjacent to their events to help with crowd and traffic control, and keep things civil. Third, they provided clean-up crews and street sweepers early the next morning to make sure any messes were cleaned-up first thing. And many of their parade events involved several times more attendees than the 90 thousand estimated at this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade.
Bottom line is Saint Patrick’s Parade day is a plague upon our neighborhoods and our citizens. One there is no justification for. Not only does Dallas have but an insignificant percentage of citizens of Irish decent, but Saint Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish – he was British. He was born “Maewyn Succat” in the 4th century, but changed his name to “Patricius” after becoming a priest. And interestingly enough, Saint Patrick’s day in Ireland was born as a feast day in which bars were closed (no drinking). A far cry from how it is celebrated today. In fact, St. Patrick became a bishop shortly before his death, and is widely credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland. By the way, Saint Patrick’s original color was blue. It was only changed to green to link to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
So why all the encouragement to drink ourselves silly on green beer? So we’ll spend a lot of money doing so, of course. And spending money makes a lot of businesses and the City of Dallas a lot of money. So next time you feel like dressing up in green, getting drunk, and trashing out your local neighborhoods, ask yourself if celebrating a phony holiday all about making others money is really worth it for you, or the right thing to do. Try instead to find reasons to celebrate in a responsible way that respects other people and pays homage to something worthy of your respect and consideration. Our nation is filled with a variety of people from varying nationalities and ethnicity. We could find a reason to celebrate Italian Day, Spanish Day, Polish Day, Scottish Day, African Day, Netherlands Day, and so forth. Let’s find good reasons to celebrate legitimate things, not manufactured holiday’s just to promote consumer spending.