It’s time we faced the truth, the distance between Ireland and Irish America has never been greater than it is in 2017.
We differed on the Vietnam War. We differed on the Iraq War. But now, thanks to the election of Donald Trump and the widening immigration crackdown on the Irish undocumented, the gap between us is cratering into a veritable grand canyon.
You won’t hear this on your Irish holidays. The Irish are notoriously discreet about our views unless you pointedly ask us. But if you do ask us this summer you might feel like you’ve stepped into a very strong headwind.
We know you think we don’t understand why you voted for him. We see you shaking your heads at your deluded liberal cousins back home. We hear all your sour charges of bias and ignorance. We know you don’t want to hear us complain.
But hear us out. Our history has taught us how to spot a demagogue. Our history has taught us that for every man who becomes a billionaire there’s an endless line of little guys who all got shafted along the way. Our history has taught us exactly what happens to the poor once the rich and the powerful decide they will no longer pay their own share.
We can see all of that painful Irish history in Donald Trump, and more besides. He’s the worst and most selfish parts of human nature with none of the redeeming qualities.
We didn't like it when Trump called over Caitriona Perry of RTE News as though he were Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion beckoning a bunny instead of a celebrated news reporter.
We really didn’t like it when he told our Prime Minister Leo Varadkar “She has a nice smile… I bet she treats you well…”
Those sexist comments made us want to take a shower with Comet. We are not used to seeing women diminished and objectified by leering elderly men as if it were still the 1950s, and we really don’t like it.
We don’t like that Trump and his team are dallying so long over the appointment of an ambassador to Ireland. What does that say about our special relationship or our current diplomatic standing?
We really don’t like the white nationalist dog whistles that Steve Bannon is reportedly placing in Trump’s major speeches. We don’t like the phrase "America First," because we know it's anti-Semitic history. We don't like this administration’s isolationist impulse at the very time that America’s diplomatic strength is most needed in world affairs.
But most of all we do not like the demonstrable Russian involvement in Trump’s campaign and election. Vladimir Putin is no friend to western democracy and it shocks us to see Trump shrug off all of the Russian hacking and propaganda efforts as simply irrelevant, when the fate of the world itself is at stake.
We liked Ronald Reagan. He knew that Russia was an enemy and that walls were to be torn down not built up. We don’t like Trump because in embracing this vulgar and impatient reality TV clown we believe you have forgotten what really made America great.