King County Democrats will be showin a bit o’green Thursday, March seventeenth to show pride in the life of Saint Patrick (c 387-493). He is certainly proud of us.
Named Maewyn, he was born to a wealthy family in Britain where success in the agricultural economy was based on the Roman patron-client relationship system of social control. His father received substantial tax relief because of his position as deacon in the Christian church. The Roman Governor, a paternal protector and benefactor, formed alliances with selective clients and offered financial assistance and legal protection at the expense of the exploited lower class. The Roman writer Tacitus tells us the people of Britain, more than a century before the empire evolved into a Christian state, “…were seduced into alluring vices: pillared halls, baths and choice banquets. The simple natives gave the name of „culture‟ to this aspect of their slavery” (Agricola 21).
Saint Patrick grew up as a normal teenager. Religion wasn’t important to him and he made youthful mistakes as attested to in Confesio, one of his two surviving writings. When he was sixteen, however, he learned an important lesson in Homeland Security. Democrats may notice a familiar thread in the curriculum.
Saxons pirates, invited by Vortigern the Roman tyrant in Britain, served as a military buffer between Pelagianism heretics and the Roman Catholic party trying to gain influence in that protectorate. Vortigern also felt threatened by the aggressive sea-borne attacks of the Picts.
When military and economic pressure on Rome made it necessary for them to withdraw their Legions and return home, the security of Britain was thrown into chaos by the military stranglehold of the Saxons. Picts and Celts each saw the weakened alliances as an opportunity to establish their own control of the agricultural resources. Saint Patrick’s family estate became an easy mark for raiding marauders from the land that Rome called Hibernia. Many unprotected agricultural Villas met violent ends at that time.
Democrats who work tirelessly for fair treatment of undocumented workers will sympathize with the affluent teenager who didn’t have the advantage of living wages, health care or political support. He was forced into Ireland’s guest worker program along with thousands of other captives. Impoverished and unprotected by law the young man was subjected to the abuse and degradation of slavery for six years by his master, Milchu, a Druidical high priest. We can only speculate how the cold isolation of the mountaintop where he tended his master’s livestock and the predictable psychology of abuse directed his thinking. Historians believe that is where he got the notion to convert Irish Druids to the system of Law and Social Justice that he learned as a child.
Democrats attentive to the direction of GATT, NAFTA and CAFTA would be interested to know that the failure of Roman-Britain trade agreements and alliances caused a greater concentration of Britain’s wealth and economic stagnation. The economy of the Roman Empire went into steep decline. A total collapse of the global economy culminated in c 476 with the death of the last Western Roman Emperor marking the beginning of what we call the Dark Ages.
The most important economic resource, tens of thousands of alien workers, including Hibernia’s Champion Saint, escaped captivity and returned to their homes. Meanwhile, the agricultural Villas that had been the economic center of society in the Roman Empire dissolved.
Most of what King County Democrats know of the patron saint of Ireland comes through Irish tradition. After he returned home Saint Patrick spent more than a decade studying and learning. Because of his fluency in the language and knowledge of the Druid culture and way of thinking, he was commissioned to go to Ireland and minister to Christians. Finally he saw the opportunity he had been dreaming of since his captivity, to teach the Pagan people of Ireland a completely new way.
Democrats who believe in strong environmental protection policies will feel relieved to know that Saint Patrick didn’t drum up the snakes of Ireland and drive them from the land. The universal symbol of earth consciousness, the serpent, was a religious icon to the Celtic Druids of Ireland. The snake, a powerful symbol of healing, is still used in corporate logos.
Driving the snakes from Ireland became a metaphor for the Druid loss of influence over the minds of the people. Democrats familiar with the conservative tax agenda will have no trouble imagining two Irishmen reframing the new political situation with some sarcastic Irish wit. “Conas tá tú Mr. O’Connor.” “Tá mé go maith, Michael. It looks like we’re finally getting some snake relief.”
Democrats are criticized for losing the confidence of voters by not clearly defining issues and positively affirming values. They might take heart knowing that literary critics over the centuries point out that St Patrick‟s use of written Latin, the international communication media during that era, was inept at best.
Just like Democratic PCOs, Saint Patrick was a man of action, not words. The Confession, a short autobiography, was directed to members of his own religious order‟s talking points. It responded, in part, to accusations that the charismatic leader was attempting a power grab even though he regularly spurned huge offers of wealth. He apologized for being unable to express his thoughts clearly in writing. Consider, he conversed in the Celtic language of Ireland, different from the language of his youth while trying to write his complex thought in encumbering Latin. We tend to use our own linguistic filters when reading the English translation and trying to figure out what his spirit and mind really meant as he searched for the right words: …I am unable to tell my story to those versed in the art of concise writing… in such a way, I mean, as my spirit and mind long to do, and so that the sense of my words expresses what I feel.
Democratic PCOs may be concerned about having two-thousand voters in their precinct, but try to imagine St Patrick’s relentless energy as he traveled throughout Ireland, exactly half the area of Washington State, talking to and learning from everyone he met. The Celtic Druids, outraged by his success arrested him several times only to see him escape each time. He was held captive by thugs and endured assassination attempts. Still, he worked relentlessly to correct the injustice that divided our world by promoting ideals of Justice, Law and Equality for a new society of rich and poor, slaves and freemen.
Like King County Progressives, St Patrick worked tirelessly to establish and maintain an educational system. He built schools that became the ideal of all Europe. During the following three centuries political leaders from diverse European cities called on graduates to help establish similar learning institutions in their communities.
Democrats of all races and cultures will wear neckties with green shamrocks and t-shirts with “Kiss me I‟m Irish,” legends on March 17th . They are showing a visible link to the spirit of Saint Patrick, whose goal of working for the people transcends domination by the forces of fear and evil. This spirit of this great man, who changes the consciousness of everyone who comes in contact with him, knows we understand the timeless theme of ancient wisdom, the Democratic ideal, where law and justice apply equally.