APOLOGIES readers! I know you’re all trumped out by now and have had enough of Donald Trump to do you a lifetime.
Or am I wrong? Are we all so culturally conditioned by the Kardashians et al, that - whatever about the American dream - we can’t get enough of the American reality.
Everywhere I went over the weekend, in Limerick or Killaloe, the Trump victory was the main topic of conversation, right down to what Melania and Ivanka wore at the acceptance speech. See, we’re on first name terms with them already, but I wish they’d drop the Barbie doll image.
Everyone was appalled at the result. You’d think we had nothing else to worry us in these trying times.
I’m talking about us, the man and the woman in the street, and not about our ubiquitous media commentators who view the Trump victory either as an affront to the current evolutionary stage of their vast intellects, or, in the case of the more excitable and hysterical pundits, a prelude to Armageddon. Our political representatives seem to be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. They don’t know whether to condemn President-elect Trump on the basis of his alarming campaign rhetoric or cosy up to him in the interests of the economy.
From what I can see it’s a question of restoring our ‘cure hoorism’ – ‘love bomb him,’ says Bertie – or indulging our habitual righteousness, and I don’t know which is worse.
Anyway, with apologies to my friends in Doonbeg, I initially thought Donald Trump was a buffoon and a vulgarian, until I saw the condescending reaction of his most vociferous opponents here, to his election.
Then all I could see swimming in front of my eyes were multitudes of buffoons everywhere, most of them harbouring superior notions about themselves and their democratic sanctity, which was annoying in the extreme. For me, it was a kind of a ‘road to Damascus’ moment.
As a result, I think I’m coming round to Trump, and if that’s buffoonery, then so be it. It certainly makes for the most animated conversation at the coffee table, where I’m in a minority of one. Nothing new in that, you could say. But I think he should be accorded the respect due to anyone elected democratically to high office – no more and no less - and let him take that or leave it, along with the inevitable bowl of shamrock. But all this doesn’t mean I have to like him or agree with any of his ideas.
Somebody told me during the week that I had gone soft in the head from eating too many fish finger sandwiches – one of Trump’s favourite snacks by all accounts. I’m not college educated either, if that might account for my contrariness. But there is something else I want to share with you too. The people who are most aghast at my new found support for Trump are the very same smug and righteous pseudo liberals who thought that some of us needed to be rescued from our erroneous propensities when we voted en masse here in Tipperary for Michael Lowry. Now they know for certain that I’m a lost cause!
At the end of the day, however, they wouldn’t recognise democracy in action if it kicked them in the eye - as it did last week - and they look down on anyone who doesn’t share their ‘sophisticated’ and ‘educated’ views, not to talk of their gourmet taste buds. Fish finger sandwiches! How common and unhealthy! Obviously democracy can’t be perfect if it doesn’t always reflect one’s cultivated values.
Now, I’m not a great fan of democracy myself, especially in Ireland where it’s particularly vulnerable to demagoguery and spin-doctoring, and worst of all, to what the great American novelist, James Fennimore Cooper once described as ‘cant’. But it’s the best we have – apart from trying to resurrect the likes of Brian Boru. Unfortunately there is no record anywhere, either in the Annals of Innisfallen or the Four Masters, of how serfs like me fared under the High Kings in the old Gaelic order. I suspect, however, that the comely maidens hadn’t much time for dancing at the crossroads back then either.
Neither am I a great believer in the American dream. Skyscrapers give me uncontrollable fits of claustrophobia and my granduncle, who worked his butt off in the Stockyards of Chicago, lost a fortune in the Wall Street crash.
Anyway, the dream smacked too much of unbridled ambition and blatant avarice in my eyes. But maybe this goes back to my childhood days playing cowboys and Indians with the neighbours, when I was the only girl and had to play the part of the loser – the Indian squaw who never got to even use a bow and arrow. Nobody told me about the Little Big Horn.
Nevertheless, America is the most powerful country in the world, and we wouldn’t even know where to look if we weren’t looking up to it. Naturally we’re apprehensive every time they change the guard, but this time we’re being ridiculously elitist as well as hysterical. I’m old enough to remember the Cuban crisis when JFK’s finger was said to be hovering over the red button and some of us, unaware of the checks and restraints on the US president, were getting out our Rosary beads preparing for the end of the world.
But, if I remember correctly, we were also preparing to be sacrificed for a good cause. Trump isn’t going to nuke the world, because, as one of his aides said last week, he owns too much of it to blow it up.
And to those among us whose sensitivities are upset by his apparent gaucherie, all I can say is that you’re going to have to dispense with universal suffrage and confine the vote to the urbane and sophisticated and, as we already do in the Seanad, to those with a college degree. Otherwise you wouldn’t know who the great unwashed will fall for next.