Bobnalong, Wed. March 17, 1999
The history and legend of St.Patrick and the shamrock
Even if youre not Irish, this is no blarney!
Its a great day for the Irish! Faith and begorrah!
St. Patricks Day, and ycan be sure therell be the wearin o the green.
This past weekend, weather prognosticators were calling for temperatures
to rise to the 60s today. Will we make it? Thats a lot of melted snow.
I thought Id pass on a bit of information on St.
Patricks Day and the Shamrock. I derived some material from the St. Patricks
Day website for use in the column.
It seems true history and legend are intertwined
when it comes to St. Patrick. Did you know he was born in Scotland? And
that he was kidnapped and sold in Ireland as a slave?
Before he made his escape to the continent, he became
quite fluent in the Irish language, eventually was ordained as a deacon,
then a priest and finally as a bishop. It was Pope Celestine who sent him
back to Ireland to preach the gospel to the people.
Possibly youve heard that Patrick was most known
throughout the world for having driven the snakes out of Ireland. It has
been told that he was standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive
the serpents into the sea. They were thereby banished from the shores of
While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland,
it was Patrick who encountered the Druids at Tara, abolishing their pagan
rites. He converted the warrior chiefs and princes. He baptized them and
thousands of their subjects in the Holy Wells that still bear that name.
St. Patrick died 493 A.D., tradition has it, and
was buried in the same grave as St. Bridget and St. Columba at Downpatrick,
County Down. Another legend says St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury
and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as Glastonbury
The great anxiety displayed in the Middle Ages to
possess the bodies at least the relics of saints accounts for the discrepancies
in tradition as to St. Patricks burial place.
Did you know that the Shamrock it was once called
the Seamroy symbolizes the cross and the blessed trinity? Before the
Christian era, it was a sacred plant of the Druids of Ireland since its
leaves formed a triad.
The well-known legend of the Shamrock connects it
definitely to St. Patrick and his teachings. Preaching in the open air
on the doctrine of the Trinity, he is said to have illustrated the existence
of the Three in One by plucking a Shamrock from the grass growing at his
feet and then showing it to the people of his congregation.
The legend of the Shamrock is also connected with
that of the banishment of the serpent tribe from Ireland by a tradition
that snakes are never seen on trefoil and that its a remedy against the
stings of snakes and scorpions. The trefoil in Arabia is called shamrakh
and was sacred in Iran as an emblem of the Persian triads.
The trefoil, being a sacred plant among the Druids
and three being a mystical number in the Celtic religion as well as all
others, its likely that St. Patrick must have been aware of the significance
of his illustration.
Whether youre mostly Irish, partly Irish (as I am) or not Irish
at all, have a great St. Patricks Day.
Exponent Editorial,Wednesday,March 17, 1999
The Medicare fix should be a bipartisan effort
As it stands right now, Medicare should go broke
in about 10 years, just as baby boomers are leaving the workplace. We hope
that in that time, Congress and the White House can rescue the program
without descending into political sniping.
A Medicare commission finished a year of work on Tuesday without coming
up with enough votes to approve their recommendations. Now we can expect
the finger-pointing and the blame game. Maybe they should just get it out
of their systems and then maybe they can get to work on saving Medicare
before its too late.
The commissioners have been working to not only
make sure the program remains solvent, but to upgrade a creaky, inadequate
old federal program. Among the proposals is a plan to have seniors pick
from a menu of medical coverage. The more expensive plans would have the
recipients paying out more of their own money.
Another proposal would raise the age for eligibility
for Medicare from 65 to 67. And more affluent seniors would have to shoulder
more of their own medical costs.
If past history is any clue, getting a plan passed
by Congress and signed by the president will be difficult indeed. Already
the majority leader in the Senate is accusing President Clinton of politicizing
the issue. The president, criticizing the commissions recommendations
as falling short of whats needed to rescue Medicare, told reporters onTuesday
that he will submit his own plan.
In addition to the back and forth between Congress
and the White House, there will be lobbyists, including the American Association
of Retired Persons, who will be looking out for their own interests.
It is our fervent hope that in this age when the
least little thing becomes a political hot potato, that cooler heads can
prevail. Medicare is too important to be left twisting in the wind while
politicians shriek at each other on the talk shows.
Todays editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial
board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser,
James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.
Telegram Editorial, Wednesday, March 17, 1999
Our country needs a Republican balance in government
Many in the media and in the Democratic party are
predicting a voter backlash from the Clinton impeachment proceedings that
will decimate the Republican Party in the 2000 elections. But we would
suggest leading Democrats may already be shooting themselves in the foot
when it comes to the 2000 presidential election.
It looks like Vice President Al Gore may sail to
the Democratic nomination with little or no opposition. His chief rival,
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri, on Monday threw his endorsement
to Gore. That pretty much promises the former Tennessee governor clear
sailing to the nomination. The only bump in the road might be any rise
in the fortunes of Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.
Of course the August 2000 convention is light years
away in political time. Gore could find a way to blow his stranglehold
on the nomination. Other would-be presidents have done it before. Consider
Democrat Gary Hart, who some hailed as a cant-miss John Kennedy clone.
Republicans should hope Gore holds it together and
is the eventual nominee for the Democrats. He has the look of a loser when
November 2000 rolls around.
First, he deserves his image of being stiff and
boring. He does not create excitement and does not communicate a vision
of how he would make the country better. His best pitch would be to say
he would run the country like President Clinton but without the sideshow
of alleged and real scandals.
A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll shows the vice president
to not stack up well in match-ups with any number of prospective Republican
opponents. The poll shows George W. Bush, the Texas governor who seems
saddled with the Republican frontrunner label, clobbering Gore by 15 points
if the election were held today. If Elizabeth Dole were the Republican
nominee she would dust Gore by 8 percentage points, according to the poll.
A strong Republican presidential candidate who could
wrest the top office from the Democrats would likely provide a coat-tail
effect to keep the Republican majority in the House and the Senate. That
would be important for the economic future of the country.
A Republican-controlled legislative branch combined
with a Republican in the White House is the countrys best bet to see continued
control of government spending and future tax cuts. And that is what allows
private capital to be available and consumer spending to be strong two
essential elements to keeping the American economy warm.
If the Democrats control the White House and the
Congress, you can bet federal spending will begin to spiral out of control
again and all the work toward eliminating the deficit will go down the
tubes. The country needs a strong Republican balance in government to provide
a reality check. With that balance we are more likely to see a government
that understands what this country can afford to do and should do for
Telegram Editorial Board