St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland: A Parade, A Lot of Drunks, and a Wee Bit of Politics
My wife and I went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Cleveland yesterday. We filled up our flask with Kentucky Bourbon, drove to the Park ‘n Ride, and hopped on the Rapid, the electric light rail train at a cost of $5 round trip each and journeyed downtown on a clear, sunny day with temperatures in the 70’s. The train ride itself was eventful, as it was boarded by a bunch of mostly white high school and college students all wearing green and all already four sheets to the wind, who engaged in songs and humor only Beavis, Butthead, and Animal House can appreciate. Meanwhile, African-American parents with little kids watched in disgust, as did we.
Sometimes it’s embarrassing to be white.
Anyway, we survived the ride, and joined the throngs packing the sidewalks to watch the over two hour long parade. The biggest crowd pleasers were the many bands of bagpipes, who were really quite good, Dennis Kucinich and his wife, and the Teamsters’ float festooned with signs that read STOP THE WAR ON WORKERS. The least favorite was definitely the Right to Life delegation, though few booed because most of the marchers were children. Brave parents, those Right to Lifers, sending their kids out with their anti-abortion message while they, well, I don’t know what they were doing. They certainly weren’t in sight.
Afterwards, we set out in search of pints of Guinness and corned beef, and ended up at a tavern famous for it. There, while outside smoking cigarettes, we ran straight into politics.
Here was this guy smoking a cigarette who observed that a lot of young people have very little sense of stability after watching a bunch of drunken girls almost get into a fight before falling drunkenly against each other and expressing their mutual adoration. They he segued into the economy, mentioning young people are not buying houses now because they can’t afford to, the loss of living wage jobs, how most people are having a tough time making it these days, and then stunned us by saying:
“It’s the politicians. D or R doesn’t matter. They don’t get it. How could they get it? 80, 90 per cent of them are millionaires. How could any of them have a clue about what the rest of us have to deal with? How could Mitt Romney or Nancy Pelosi possibly have a clue? He inherited his money, and she represents a district where the average home price is 900,000? There’s no way! They are all corporate candidates, and none of them give a shit about you or me.”
“There’s not two political parties, there’s one, and it’s the rich people’s party with two rich wings.”
Wow. My wife and I didn’t even bring it up. The conversation went on. Not once did anyone bring up social issues or any of the other things our ruling class uses to keep us divided. His buddy chimed in, saying our congresscritters’ salaries are just play money to most of them, and then some of them have the nerve to come out and blame the poor for wrecking the budget by going on unemployment and food stamps. They talked about how their electric bills would drop but the gas bills would skyrocket, or vice versa so they could never catch up, without any rational explanation ever being given.
Again and again, the guy, who appeared just a bit better off than we were, said “D v R” doesn’t matter anymore, clearly expecting some objection and never getting it. I asked him if he knew other people who thought that, and he said “Oh, yes, loads of them.” I asked him if he thought people were finally waking up. He said, “Oh, a lot of them are wide awake, they just don’t know what the hell to do about it. Yet. But sooner or later, something will happen, and then they’ll know what to do. I just don’t know what that something is yet.”
I don’t know, either dude, but I think I’ll know it when I see it, too. And a belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of ye on this fine day.