Irish-American Kerry O’Shea is weighing her options following Tuesday’s outcome of the 2016 presidential election and victory for Donald J. Trump.
“I am seriously considering moving to Ireland, though, to point out, moving over there has always been in the back of my mind,” she said.
For a long time leading up to the election, and even prior to Trump’s securing the Republican nomination, I would say I’d ‘be gone’ should Trump win the election. I never thought he’d actually win it all.”
O’Shea, the daughter of an Irish immigrant, has an easy enough pathway to Irish citizenship.
“A couple months ago I submitted for my Irish passport as Trump surged ahead. I’ve always wanted to square away my Irish passport, but Trump was the catalyst. Now that he's been elected, it's time for me to seriously consider making the big move or not. Part of me wants to stay and see what I can do to help fight the good fight, the other part of me wants to get out of Dodge.”
Reflecting on watching the results come in, O’Shea says her hope for a Clinton presidency slowly began to diminish as a shocking reality sank in.
“I watched the election results roll in Tuesday evening in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx with my two Irish roommates. I was texting with my family while simultaneously explaining to my roommates that it was still early, and Trump's early lead would surely unwind as more results came in. As we know now, I was wrong.”
In addition to her family and friends stateside, O’Shea describes texting with a college-age cousin who lives in Ireland who was asking for updates about the election. “I’m terrified that he might get it and I’m not even in the States,” her cousin said earlier in the day on Tuesday.
“Wednesday felt like a haze. It just felt like common sense for Hillary Clinton, a prior senator and secretary of state, never mind former first lady, to win the position she is nearly overqualified for. Evidently I was not alone in that mindset as the popular vote was in Clinton’s favor.
“Is Hillary perfect? God no. But she has the diplomatic experience. She has dedicated her life to civil service. Trump has some real estate and a reality show. Would I have loved to see the first woman president elected this week? Of course. But, male or female, Hillary had Trump beat in experience by leaps and bounds.
“I find myself trying to empathize with Trump supporters but I’m finding it increasingly difficult. I can respect the notion of wanting to shake up the status quo in D.C., but this just doesn’t seem like the best route, or even a good route.
On a personal level, O’Shea describes finding difficulty in accepting Trump as a leader.
“Trump’s treatment of women - past and present - is abhorrent and offensive. His choice of Mike Pence as running mate makes me uneasy given Pence's history of anti-LGBT behavior. Further, the company you keep is generally a good marker of the type of person you are; the KKK enthusiastically endorsed Trump.”
“While I have no respect or trust for Trump as an individual, I am hopeful - for the sake of America - that he will steer us in the right direction. His position has my respect, he does not though.”
While cautiously hopeful, O’Shea is still weighing the benefit of moving to Ireland.
O’Shea concluded: “I think the coming days, weeks and yes four years will be a massive turning point for our country. I love America. I love that we're a country founded on immigrants, diversity and free speech. Trump, right now to me, through his actions and words, is a threat to that. I can only hope he won't steer us wrong.”
Kerry O'Shea, 27, is an Irish-American native of New Jersey. The daughter of a Kerryman and granddaughter of Galway and Mayo natives, Kerry finds herself visiting Ireland at least once a year. Now a college graduate, Kerry lives in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx while working in New York City.