Let’s All Boycott the St. Patrick’s Day Parade This Year

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If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the month that Bill de Blasio has been mayor, it’s that he’s not afraid to piss the people off! He’s frequently late to press conferences. He eats pizza with a knife and fork. He has snowplows bring extra snow to the Upper East Side. And now he’s declared his intentions to skip walking in the St. Patrick’s Day parade “because of organizers’ refusal to allow participants to carry gay-pride signs.” And while we can’t support the way in which de Blasio eats pizza, this is one controversial decision we can definitely get behind. In fact, let’s all boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade this year.

De Blasio announced his decision to skip the parade at a press conference today, saying, “No, I am not planning on marching in the parade. I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade.” This breaks with the longstanding tradition of previous New York mayors, city government members, other local politicians, and city workers marching along Fifth Avenue in a purported celebration of Irish heritage. Mayor Bloomberg marched every year of his tenure, but, you know, that was a different time. We’re in de Blasio’s New York now, and mayors don’t just march in parades that aren’t representative of the inclusive values and liberal mind-set of the majority of New Yorkers. De Blasio said that he wouldn’t prohibit any city workers from marching and that he “respects that right,” but cited the fact that he has never marched in the parade in his capacity as an elected city official due to its discriminatory policies.

I don’t know if any of you were planning on attending the parade this year, but I strongly encourage you to stand with de Blasio and skip it. I’ve only been once. And it was an accident (oh to be seventeen again and on acid and not knowing what day it was so getting completely blown away by all the people marching down Fifth Avenue, blowing into bagpipes when all you wanted to do was go to the Met and see Van Gogh’s “The Potato Peeler” actually peeling potatoes). But I’m definitely not going this year. Or any other year as long as the parade remains a discriminatory activity. And besides, let’s not pretend that the parade organizers’ close association with the Catholic Church is not problematic in and of itself. After all, if we’re not going to buy a SodaStream and we’re steering clear of Woody Allen films (even the good ones!), which are actually things with real value, then I think we can all find it within ourselves to stay away from this St. Patrick’s Day parade. Because, you know, if you stand for nothing, you’ll lay down for anything. And while you’re laying down, do you really want to do it to the wailing cat sound of bagpipes as girls with “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirts vomit green beer all over your feet? No. I didn’t think so.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


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