Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Coming to Ireland? Don't Be Trumped.

If you're about to embark on a trip to Ireland, and particularly if you're an American, here's a friendly warning: do not bring the divisiveness currently found in the United States with you. 

Otherwise, you could be Trumped.

Let me explain. This small Post attempts to provide you - as a possible visitor or immigrant to Ireland - some advice on what to say, or not, when you're confronted by Irish people regarding Mr. Trump's present term of office.

What? I hear you say. Why, as an American, would I be confronted about the President? 

Answering that question is rather straightforward. You see, the Irish are by and large political animals. Most love discussing politics. To many, domestic and international politics are a huge game, and bets are placed all the time about who's going to win or not win, who's going to be stripped of office or not, and who's going to find themselves cast into the political wilderness.

Local entertainment, at least to a large extent, consists of political grousing. And grousing includes international politicians, including The Donald. 

And don't think Irish people are politically ignorant or naive. They're not.

Many spend hours reading newspapers and watching television to fully understand the ramifications of policy. And when I say fully I mean exactly that. So if you meet a fellow at the local watering hole dressed in dirty dungarees and clutching a thick pint, and obviously just back from a day in the fields, don't underestimate him. He'll in all likelihood be as politically astute as any Jeopardy contestant. And if you choose to get into a political argument with him know you'll likely lose because he'll know the facts much better than you do.

Assuming you believe in facts. However....

Most Irish have no problem at all expressing their opinion about politics and politicians - particularly if policies affect them. And right now they're gunning for an explanation regarding how Mr T managed to get into office in the first place, much less why he still resides in the White House. 

But why the interest, you might ask?

You see, America has long held a special place in Ireland's spiritual heart. It was - and in some ways still is - held on high as a bastion of freedom and a harbor of safety. During Penal times and the famine, thousands immigrated to the United States not only in hope of a better life, but to simply survive. As the years passed, America continues to represent what is good about democracy to most folks here. The torch of freedom and opportunity held high by Lady Liberty is not just a symbol to the Irish. Rather, most here consider it a promise from the American people which continues to light the world.  

In some ways - perhaps it's because the Irish contributed so much to the development of that great country - the people here have a sense of ownership. On some levels, and if you delve deeply enough, they see America and the values it espouses belonging not just to Americans but to the Irish too. 

Which means that when the light from that lamp is diminished even slightly, some Irish can become annoyed. Very much so.

So. If you are visiting or immigrating to Ireland, be warned. Most people here (not all, of course) do not like Donald Trump. Since the election my Irish friends have thrown the following descriptors at me regarding the man: 

"Arsehole", "Fool and a flagrant liar", "A mighty gobshite," "A fuck-head," "The red-haired monster," "A miscreant," "A flamboyant eejit," "Completely beyond insane."

And these are only some.  Too, many Irish love to point fingers. So if they detect an American accent sitting at a bar stool, for instance, they may instantly zone in. They'll watch you drink your pint, smile sweetly, and pounce.

"Fine weather we're having, isn't it," they might say innocently.

"Sure is," you'll answer bank.

"And can I ask ya something?" they'll continue.

"What's that?" you'll answer. Then you'll be targeted by a pair of scowling eyes and the attack will ensue.

"Did ya vote for that godshite, did ya? How could ye have possibly put that miscreant into office knowing he was as crazy as a half-whipped pup? Do ya not know what ye've done?"

And if you are posed with such a question, consider carefully how you will respond because you could well be on your way to being Trumped. 

The Options

I've watched these small battles between my Irish friends and American visitors who don't realize they may be falling into a trap. Some, of course, choose to be dead honest. If they voted against Mr T they'll say so. In which case they still might be blamed.

"Ah, ye voted against the man, did ya? Now that's fine. But could ye have not convinced the rest of your foolish country to vote along with you? What in be-Jaysus is wrong with you Americans, now tell me that?" And you'll have the pleasure of knowing you're being lumped in with the entire voting population, no matter how you cast your ballot.

In which case you could choose to discuss American politics until midnight, trying to explain why and how the current presidency came to be and no matter how long it takes the Irish person at your elbow will follow your every word because he or she is that interested.

Or... and if you voted for Mr T, you could be just as honest. Now, if that's the route you choose do not fear that you'll be thrown out of a warm establishment. In fact, the Irish person you chat to will seem completely at ease and may even seem to agree with your views. He may even gently goad you into continuing your explanation of supporting the sitting president.

It is only at the end of the conversation you may realize you've been duped. 

"Can I tell ya," he may say, having sat for an hour listening. "I have never spent a more interesting time listening to complete and utter drivel." He'll turn his back on you and you'll have to get used to the knowledge that for at least the next six months, his memory of your conversation will be part of the fabric of pub discussion, often accompanied by a wry shake of the head, laughter, and general derision.

Of course you may not give a damn. But you'll have to come to terms with the fact that you'll be the object of ridicule for an age.

Or... you could do what I advise most to do. If someone asks you about the current president, change the subject instantly. To the weather perhaps. Or the beauty of the village. Or maybe the sight of the setting sun, even if it's not yet two in the afternoon. 

Do anything but talk about Trump.

As I say: most Irish don't like The Donald. They don't want him here. Many wish he'd sell the property interests he has in Ireland and get out (Donald Trump owns a golf course and hotel in County Clare - mind you many folks in Doonbeg seem to love the man). A few months ago, when he announced an impending visit to the Auld Sod ostensibly to see his property, social media was mobbed by Irish objectors. An Anti-Trump group planned to hold rallies to express their displeasure. The Donald responded by cancelling which caused great laughter. Many believed the Bully Boy had finally been censored, and only reinforced local opinion: the man doesn't have a spine.

So by all means do come to Ireland. Enjoy your stay. But be warned: if you choose to talk about Donald Trump be prepared for an Irish blow-back. It's much better, me-thinks, to simply close your mouth and drink your pint. 

Otherwise, you could be Trumped.

If this blog interests you and you want to learn more about Ireland why not consider purchasing A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2017 Edition. Are you thinking about living and working in Ireland? Would you like to move to Ireland? Do you want to know how to get an Irish work visa in this country? Do you need to know how Brexit and Trump policies may affect your plans? If so, consider purchasing the 2017 edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland by Tom Richards. Now almost 90,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for  those interested in this wonderful country. Over 14,000 people have now learned how to live, laugh, and drink like the Irish by reading this Kindle ebook. I hope you enjoy, and my very best - Tom

No comments:

Post a Comment