So, today was St. Patrick's Day, and I can't resist drawing a parade. So, after spending the morning teaching my Parsons School of Design Illustration in Motion class at Grand Central Station, I decided to go to midtown Manhattan and draw a little of the St. Patrick's Day parade, and spend the rest of the afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art. A perfect way to spend the day. Well, let me tell you, it was COLD on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan today! And I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with the St. Patrick's Day parade. On the one hand, I am 3/4 Irish descent, and very proud of the contributions the Irish have made to the United States. Did you know that the French troops sent to help the American colonists win the Revolutionary War were mostly Irish mercenaries? They couldn't wait to stick it to mother England and help one of her colonies gain independence, how very Irish of them, ha ha! And I love to see all those proud people marching with their Irish sweaters on, bagpipes blaring. Those are my people!
On the other hand, I really hate that the Ancient Order of the Hibernians continues to refuse to allow gay and lesbian Irish groups to march in the parade. The group claims to exclude the homosexual marchers on religious principles, but, as my four-year-old nephew says, "REALLY?" It is so against the teachings of Christianity - in the Bible, Jesus accepted everyone, that's what I remember reading - and I just can't abide the intolerance. And I don't believe that it's right. Everyone who is PROUD to be of Irish descent should be welcomed, Irish sweaters, Kelly Green sparkly atrocities of fashion, and all! So there's my dilemma about this parade. I mean, even the Pope himself has said that he cannot judge people by nature of their sexuality, and rightfully so!
So, therein lies my mixed feelings about the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade: I love it, I hate it, but it's a part of who I am, so I absolutely can't ignore it. So that's why I found myself compelled, despite the frigid temperatures, and despite my political/moral objections, to at least draw a little bit of it. And I have to admit, I enjoyed drawing those extremely Irish faces. Made me think of family members, some long gone, whom I have loved, and who have shown me love in my life. So come on Irish-Americans, let's get it together and welcome everyone to the fold already!!