It is that special time of year again for close to 40 million Irish Americans, but why does it feel more like Groundhog Day than St. Patrick’s Day to me?
Here’s why:

Parades and gays: The parades and the gays issue which has been around since 1991 (George Bush Senior was president, and a young governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, was gearing up to run for the White House but given little chance) is back to bedevil us.

Boston at least is showing some sign of getting sorted if not this year, then very likely next. The dynamic new Mayor Marty Walsh has made it clear he is focused on seeking a solution.

New York? This is about to become a perennial eyesore like a black eye for the community. No end in sight. “Don’t blame you, don’t blame me, blame that guy behind the tree.”

No U.S. ambassador in Dublin: Year two and counting that on St. Patrick’s Day the most important job for an Irish American is unfilled. Why has this happened. Who cares? Answers on a postcard please. Maybe President Obama might write to explain. It truly is unusual.

I know he has a world to run, but do you really think Israel, U.K., etc. would stand for no envoy?

Central park carriage horses plod on: Same controversy, different year and now Liam Neeson has got involved and good for him. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio is all set to shut them down, but Ireland’s version of “The Terminator” has showed up for battle. I’m betting on Liam.

A Clinton running for president: There are young people alive today who cannot remember a time when there was not a Clinton either president or in the frame to run for president. In fact, if you are 24 or under this applies to you.

A Bush running for president: See same as above, no difference. Except if you are 36 or under it applies to you.

Unionists say no:
This year’s version is say no to the American Richard Haass plan to sort out the unfinished business from the Good Friday Agreement, parades, victim’s rights, etc. Peter Robinson, head of the DUP, of course said no. (Shock!)

Remember back when Ian Paisley said yes to everything for a few years? Seems like a mirage now.

Immigration reform fail: Every year we start off bright eyed and bushy tailed intent on passing that reform bill, but by year’s end the optimism fades and the dinosaurs rule.
Maybe next year?

Mayo losing an All-Ireland football final: Every year Ireland’s lovable losers do their thing, flaming out in an All-Ireland final. (They are now 0-7). Around every St. Patrick’s Day the hope springs eternal again that this year is different.
Some day. Some year!

So that is the round up this St. Patrick’s season of hopeless causes, perennial losers, same again candidates, dashed dreams, etc.

Despite it all, enjoy the green season. Remember it could be worse!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!