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Irish Eyes Are Smiling

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On St. Patrick's Day, remember today is not all about drinking heavily. If you're Catholic, it is a feast day. If you're Irish non-Catholic, it's a day to celebrate the man credited with spreading Christianity in Ireland. If you're not of a Christian faith, it is a way to celebrate the Irish, who have been a part of American history going back to the 1700s. (Yes, George Washington celebrated St. Patrick's Day, too.) And if you cannot appreciate any of those things, perhaps you are too lame to be celebrating anything.

St. Patrick's Day seems to get bigger every year and not just because there is a movement to make it a national holiday. Even though it has a Catholic background, everyone can get behind the idea of drinking with friends, just as Thanksgiving (a secular feast day) is all about eating with family. Everybody can embrace this. First Lady Michelle Obama had the White House fountains dyed green today, just like the Chicago River. President Obama named Steelers' owner Dan Rooney to be U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. (Plus, Rooney is a Republican. His nephew is Palm Beach Republican Rep. Tom Rooney.) For Obama, St. Patrick's Day isn't just an idea for a campaign t-shirt. The President is actually part Irish.

While the Irish can take pride that the President and Vice President are both of Irish descent (Joe Biden's Irish ancestors came to the US about 50 years before mine), the Irish and all Americans should take pride in what has been happening in Ireland lately. While the economy, like everywhere else, has soured, the Irish are fighting to maintain a lasting peace that was partly brokered by former US Senator George Mitchell. (The same guy who investigated steroids in baseball and is now Obama's Middle East envoy.) In the 10 years since the Good Friday Agreement that created a stable government in Northern Ireland, things have never been perfect. When two British soldiers were killed last week outside of Belfast, there was concern the peace would be broken. Instead, Irish on both sides of the peace process condemned the attack. Finally, all of Ireland is united in the cause of peace.

Happy St. Patrick's Day and enjoy your Guinness and Baileys responsibily. I hope you find where da gold at.