The upcoming presidential election promises to serve up more of the same strained nerves that the 2016 one did. Whether you bleed red or blue, it is time to start stocking the liquor cabinet with bottles of liquid courage to steel yourself for the histrionic drama that is already unfolding on the national stage.
With so much at stake, both for the nation and your own mental health, why not kill two birds with one stone by toasting to your favorite cause and imploring heaven’s aid? For behind every political position is a particular concern, and behind every particular concern is a patron saint.
Take, for example, immigration. If you oppose President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, you may be animated by a concern for the marginalized. In that case, look to St. Patrick, the patron of excluded people — and be sure to toast him with his signature drink, the Irish Ale Cocktail.
But if you support Trump’s immigration policy, you may be concerned for national security or the well-being of the American worker. If so, turn to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the USA, or St. Nicholas, a defendant against governmental policies that hurt the little guy. The White Lady is the drink for the former, the Anathema Sip for the latter.
If you like Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals, you probably like St. Anthony of Padua, champion of the poor, and you’ll also like a new cocktail dedicated to him, the Do Come Round. But if you aren’t feeling the Bern, pour yourself a Sazerac and plead at the feet of St. Joseph the Worker, who is invoked against communism.
The nature-loving St. Francis of Assisi and the St. Francis Cocktail are your obvious go-to for the environment. But if you care more about economic development, St. Magnus of Fussen is your man. The Swiss monk created the region’s most lucrative industry after a friendly bear showed him the location of some iron ore, and he saved local agriculture from insect infestations. His drink: the Grasshopper, of course.
If you are convinced climate change is caused by man, commend the souls of the skeptics who lack your certainty to St. Peter, a saint famous for his denials, and don’t forget to sip his cocktail, a Gibson. But if you tire of jeremiads about the imminent ruin of Mother Earth, ask as well for the intercession of Peter, who is a patron against hysteria.
If you are anxious about Russian interference in American politics, implore St. Andrew, one of Russia’s patrons, to keep his clients at bay, and raise a St. Andrew’s Martini in his honor. But if you think allegations of Trump-Russia collusion are an enormous misdirection, pray to St. John Bosco, patron of magicians, for an end to the smoke and mirrors as you mix yourself a Magic Cotton Candy Daiquiri.
Finally, if you are feeling especially uncharitable and question the intelligence of your political opponents, put them under the protective care of St. Joseph of Cupertino, patron of the mentally challenged. Then order a classic Aviation Cocktail, since the saint, who was known to levitate, also patronizes airplane pilots.
Although patron saints are especially popular among Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, they enjoy broad, if diluted, appeal. In the Middle East, devotion at the shrines of early Christian saints sometimes rubs off on local Muslims. In Mexico, atheists joke that even if you don’t believe in God, you still believe in his mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The best part about toasting to patron saints and even pitting them against each other is the assurance that it will not cause any real rancor in heaven. G. K. Chesterton observed that there is a crucial difference between the partisan gods of the ancient world and the patron saints of the new covenant.
When Rome and Carthage went to war, one could easily imagine Venus and Juno at each other’s throats. But when England and France went to war, no one with half a brain thought St. George was duking it out with St. Joan of Arc. The friendship of the saints in eternity is an apt reminder of the friendship we should be seeking with each other here below, regardless of how we react to Election Day results.