Monday, February 1, 2016

Donald Trump - an American Embarrassment

Okay I'll say it. Donald Trump is a scurilous, repulsive, xenophobic, bigoted fool. God knows I'm not offering proof for this statement. I don't need to. Proof lies within the unbridled rhetoric Mr. Trump has been spouting since deciding that he should grace the United States' electoral process.

As an American living in Ireland, I'm occasionally asked by fellow US citizens what the Irish think of US politics. The answer has changed over the years. During the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Irish overwhelmed me with their sympathy and support. Throughout the Gulf War, the same Irish looked at me with more than a little embarrassment, particularly when President Bush & Co came up empty-handed in their search for weapons of mass destruction.

The subject of Guantanamo gets unbridled silence ("What are those Americans up to after all this time?" they seem to be thinking). Shannon Airport, which is often used by the US Military as a refuelling stop for the transfer of service men and women to points east, receives a mixed reaction. Some Irish, those who support American foreign policy, give it tacit approval. Others aren't so sure. Recently, a couple of elected Irish politicians climbed over the airport fence to accost a newly landed military transport plane. They were prosecuted for their trouble (though their standing in the eyes of many an Irish person shot to new heights). Of course it can get worse. A few years back, one woman punched a hole in a US 737 nose cone with a handheld axe. I gather she was somewhat annoyed with US military might. My point is this: if the Irish are pissed-off about the United States, they're fairly quick to show it.

And as I say, US politics - and politicians - get a mixed reaction from the Irish. That, however, is not the case when it comes to Mr. Donald Trump.

Except for a tiny percentage of this country's populace, The Donald is viewed by the Irish with contempt. First, they can't stand his hair ("The fella needs help," I heard a woman gasp recently in reaction to the wind whistling through his dry as a bone corn-huskings).  Second, they dislike his cavalier attitude ("You're telling me he wants to chase immigrants from the United States? But what about all the Irish in Boston and New York? Is he going to throw them out too?" said a fellow recently as we discussed Mssr Trump over a couple of pints. When I responded that Trump probably did, the fellow threw his pint glass at me.)

Or the best one, from a lady down the road: "The fecker should be banned from the country," she said indignantly. "The English had the right idea but they didn't go far enough. The Donald isn't wanted here. The government should invite him over on some pretext, embarrass the shite out of him, then throw the fellow out of our country for insurrection and a foul mouth!"

For the first time in many a year, this Republican is actually embarrassed to be American particularly when asked by my Irish friends, "Why would any intelligent, honest-thinking American even consider voting for the fool?"  To which, of course, I have no real answer. When I mutter about the plight of the American middle class and how Donald somehow appeals to their sense of abandonment, the Irish only look at me and laugh. "If he wins, we're all fecked," they say.

And it's true. If he wins we're all fecked including the Irish. But especially me. Because I'll be stuck trying to explain how such an ill-tempered bullying rich-kid managed to pull it off in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

I'd better order another pint.

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