By a quirk of history, Ireland is still a nation you can visit now on a US passport and the Irish are not happy about it.
The US is one of the few nations left on an increasingly short list that includes Albania, Mexico, Turkey, and Tanzania.
The rest of Europe is closed to us, as is most of the planet now.
When Trump voters chanted to “build the wall,” did they anticipate the wall would end up trapping us from sea to shining sea, so that we would no longer welcome to travel abroad?
Instead of fighting the pandemic with all he's got, Donald Trump has instead led us into a 193-day long catastrophe that already has a bigger American body count than World War I. In 193 days, all he has suggested to respond to the challenge is warm sunshine and bleach, which haven't worked out at all.
America now has the highest coronavirus death toll in the entire world, yet we are busy reopening our economy as our hospitals overflow with the dead and dying.
In Ireland, France, Italy, and Spain the caseload has trailed off and flattened. But in America and the U.K. - both nations led by trust fund babies with a tenuous grip on reality – no peak has ever been reached.
The death toll currently stands at a shocking more than 139,000 Americans. Infection rates have exploded here, there are now more people infected with the coronavirus here than there are citizens of Wales.
Given these figures and the third world level of public health and political dysfunction that they unarguably represent, it's no wonder Irish people are up in arms about the numbers of visiting American tourists that are still being admitted to the country without quarantining.
Trump promised to make America great again, but overseas people are treating us like blow-ins from a leper colony.
In Texas, the morgues are now overflowing with Covid-19 deaths, but a recent big group of tourists from the Lone Star State tried to convince the Irish press at Dublin airport that it was all blown out of proportion.
Really? Texas already has over 40,000 confirmed cases and many leaders are calling for a complete lockdown, though actual numbers are certain to be three times higher. Critics grouse that American tourists are taking advantage of legal loopholes to pass through the Irish airports without the screening to ensure the Irish people are safe. We just survived a crisis they say, why would open our doors to a nation where half the people refuse to take it seriously?
But it's not just the Irish public that wants to give us all a wide berth now. Professor Sam McConkey, the infectious diseases specialist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, has suggested that any visitor from overseas who doesn't quarantine for two weeks should be jailed.
Our public health system, long a byword for dysfunction and daylight theft, has failed to corral the pandemic as countries with functional health systems have been able to reopen. No wonder we're not welcome.
On the ground in Ireland MAGA hatted American tourists have been observed flouting the local pandemic restrictions, but they have also been observed to flout simple mask wearing requests. The internet is of course already filled with irate conservative Texans publicly vowing they will not wear a mask and then updates from the same people two weeks later saying they have caught the virus.
Meanwhile, Irish Health Minister Simon Harris dismissed all the Irish public concerns this week saying his Department will only put in place World Health Organisation-recommended measures. “Screening doesn’t work,” he told the press. “One of the reasons it doesn’t work is you can have this condition for up to 14 days and not actually show symptoms.” Ireland should have “proportionate responses,” he said, adding “we can’t ban travel.”
It's important to remember that America's disastrous Covid-19 figures need not have happened. Health experts have insisted that with competent national leadership and consistent public messaging on the safety steps to take about 90 percent of the deaths here would not have occurred.
But instead of our greatness, we are about to show the world what American political and medical dysfunction in a pandemic looks like. First the infection rates will continue to skyrocket and then, as night follows day, our already tottering economy will likely crater.
One-third of Americans did not make the rent in July. The coronavirus has ripped the mask off every social inequality in the nation. To paraphrase Yeats, we are locked in and the key is turned.
Another way to say that is the stage has been set for multiple disasters. We cannot hope to recover without good leadership, but the leadership we need is missing in action.