Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is not completely without his fans in Ireland, but, for the most part, we as a nation are decidedly appalled that there is any hope of him becoming the next US President.
His announcement that he was to make a (now canceled) trip to Ireland later this month was met with many calls for protests and renewed petitions to have him completely banned from the country.
But are we doing a disservice to the hero of Doonbeg, Co. Clare, and his party by dispelling them and their policies completely?
In yesterday’s Irish Times, American Meghan Kelly (no, not the Fox News anchor) aired her disgust at what she believes to be the “unfounded” bias of the Irish people towards the Republican party.
“The inherently negative bias among Irish towards the Republican Party is unfounded and mainstream Irish politicians and Irish media do a disservice to the Irish populace in failing to provide a fuller picture of US politics outside the lens of the liberal, progressive agenda associated with the Democratic Party,” writes Kelly, who lived in Ireland as a graduate student and whose spouse is Irish.
“I am dismayed that I have never once been asked by any Irish person why I am a Republican, only how could I be a Republican.”
Irish people tend to be anti Republican (US). But you can be pro GOP and anti Trump. https://t.co/vY1hPiSdu1— Cllr. Keith Redmond (@CllrKRedmond) June 16, 2016
While I agree that the Republican party can be unfairly vilified in Ireland at times and too heavily cast as gun-slinging, anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBT rights enforcers of a bid to take over the world for oil, few of the arguments Kelly gives for why she is voting GOP in 2016 do anything to take away from this image.
Talking of the world’s need for American hegemony, for sovereignty and for law enforcement will do little to win us around to your cause. Nor do these arguments help Trump and the Republican party seem like the people we can trust to not make world affairs worse than they already are.
“To those who question the value of American superpower, I ask who else can act as a broker for freedom around the world,” writes Kelly.
The US may well be the only nation with the resources to allow them to become a worldwide ambassador for liberty and freedom, but with Trump, a man with no experience in brokering such freedom, at the helm, how likely is this to continue?
To argue that “sovereignty is not being respected and we have no control over who is coming in and for what purpose” and then talk of American hegemony is also the stance of one who only values US freedom, claiming sovereignty as an entity that can only be truly possessed by Americans.
She believes things because she wants to believe them, making supporting the Republican Party seem like religion.— Aodh (@AodhBC) June 16, 2016
Ireland was the little guy being pushed around by an imperial power for too long not to value our own sovereignty, and while many will argue that we lost it again completely through membership in the EU and being tied down by austerity measures, we don’t want to sit back and watch a US government under Trump put the sovereignty of other countries or other peoples at risk.
Kelly bemoans that “ordinary working people are at the hands of government .. while at the same time receiving no help from the government,” citing the IRS as an example of wasteful government bureaucracy.
With rising homelessness, families living in cars, and the water charge serving to be one tax too far, we may not be the best beacons of hope for a larger government and higher taxes, but the kind of government Trump believes in would not make our country a better place.
Trump’s policies, which overwhelmingly favor the wealthy, will serve mainly himself and other people like him, meaning many of those who believe he can “Make America Great” again are going to be sorely disappointed when they’re once again left out in the cold.
“The Democratic Party is quick to blame law enforcement each time a public offender is shot by a police officer, never admitting that public offenders need to be policed for a reason,” Kelly argues.
According to the Guardian, 492 people have already been killed by the police in the US in 2016. This figure reached over 1,000 in 2015, 229 of whom were completely unarmed, some of whom were shot accidentally and some of whom were only children. In the hyper-aggressive world of Trump, how many people will needlessly lose their lives? Why is increased law enforcement putting further lives at risk instead of protecting them?
So why don’t the Irish love and adore Trump?
It’s not because of our politicians and media’s “liberal, progressive agenda.” It’s not because we don’t understand the Republican Party. It’s because Trump and his all-guns-blazing, self-serving, bully-boy approach to government goes against the grain in a country that prides itself on strong and fair relations with other countries and at least trying, although sometimes failing, to ensure that we are all equal.
We don’t love and adore Trump because America can do better than risking the freedoms for a man who doesn’t care about them.
Read more: Trump will get warm welcome from Irish in Clare when he visits
I see Trump has cancelled his visit to Clare. God help us if he becomes President. The White House will be a cold place for the Irish— George Hook (@ghook) June 15, 2016