Oh, Danny Boy

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Wednesday is St. Patrick’s Day. This is huge in my predominantly Irish-American community, and though I am not Irish myself, I have always found great comfort and warmth and inspiration in the influence.

Today in church I received that comfort and that warmth and that inspiration just when I desperately needed it, and I don’t think I quite realized it until it called me.

Our week ahead promises not only the annual celebration of St. Patrick, but also the hostile, vicious promises from our so-called leaders that they will do whatever it takes – the Constitution be damned – to make this atrocity of a health-care bill the law of the land. The American people have made it clear that they do not want it. Congressional democrats, along with the President of the United States and his administration, have spat back, “we don’t care!”, and at this very moment they are threatening the members of their own party who are considering a “no” vote and looking for whatever unconstitutional bypass they can find to shove it through without a vote. The capper came today when Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that by next Sunday, it will be the law of the land.

I am grateful I didn’t hear Gibbs say this personally. I was in church when he said it. Kneeling. Feeling confused and sad, and very worried as I thought about the week that lies ahead for us. But then I heard the soft, haunting introduction on the piano to one of my favorite songs: “Danny Boy.” This was soon joined by the voices of a bonafide Irish tenor in duet with a beautiful deep baritone. And at that moment, the words I had been struggling to find came to me: “Please don’t let them take our country.”

That was my prayer. It was just what I needed, all that I needed. And it was given to me by the beautiful Irish anthem “Danny Boy.”

I felt better after that. I still do. The Irish have always been warriors. They have contributed mightily to the warrior fabric and fiber of America – and why I find such comfort in their influence. Though I remain worried. I sit here tonight and wonder, is Robert Gibbs right? This time next week, as he said, will this atrocity be the law of the land, a jagged tear in our greatness? Please, God, don’t let them take our country.

In my heart, I don’t think it will happen. If it were left solely to the American people, I know it wouldn’t. But there are other, more insidious forces at play here, forces that defy openly what America is and what her blueprint has deemed she must and will be. There is thus a chance that those forces could win this one. They have vowed to do it this week, to subvert with hostility and arrogance our nation, our Constitution, our people and, as an open affront to the Irish, the spirit of St. Patrick. But even if they do take this round – admittedly a terrible blow to those who love this country — I still believe that the American people, and the spirit of the United States itself, will prevail. As I have said so many times before, there is no other option.

 In the meantime, I will keep the lovely strains of “Danny Boy” streaming through my head. And my prayer. Please don’t let them take our country. And with that I say good night, America. This week is going to be a rough one. It’s going to be painful. But as has been the case with all of America’s many righteous battles, we must keep up the fight and keep the faith. God bless us all.