Welcome to episode 1 of ‘America from the outside, Ireland from the inside’. This first post will be an introduction of what the aims are of the series, views from my computer screen and an ability to contact me for further discussion and challenging of opinions.
Situated on Dublin’s Southside, I am looking at the world through various computer screens that frighten me, and this will be where I write down what I usually end up shouting at the screens that are ruining my life.
Firstly why America? Well it is fairly simple. I grew up wanting to go to America and be American. They had the best food, the best sport, the best TV, they got the films 6 months before us and everyone was so happy. Whereas here in Ireland everyone was always milliseconds from getting annoyed, in America they said ‘have a nice day’ just for buying chewing gum in the shop.
But I was also very young in a relatively safe world. During the cold war (I arrived towards the end of it) no one was going to pull the trigger, self-preservation meant that status quo (while angry) remained. There was no Vietnam War like my parents had, or WW2 like my grandparents had. This may have been the America I wanted to live in. Along with that, I had zero interaction with anything political. That is the key.
In my lifetime I have seen 2 bushes, a Clinton and Obama and now a Trump. I don’t remember a thing about Bush sr. Clinton appeared to take care of business in his office, while making some mistakes along the way. Not diminishing these mistakes, but they were none of my business. Private life is private. This was the first time politics entered my life from America. I wondered why older men were interested in the private life of a younger man. Was it criminal jealousy on their part? Was it because no one wanted to travel south of their equator? Or was it to score points?
Through the next line of presidents the country began being strangled. Laws were brought in to tap phones, to screen passengers (mostly of a certain colour let’s be honest) and to invade the private lives of Americans. People reacted with ‘I have nothing to hide so I don’t care if they listen to my calls’. This is like saying I don’t care about free speech because I have nothing to say. Reactions became simply yes or no. Nuance disappeared. The eye for an eye mentality that came from western films was now a legitimate reaction.
The world changed. The economies crashed, the Kardsashians and obesity arrived and we fast forward further to 2017. An America with a reality TV star and business ‘mogul’ as president. The people got so annoyed with the system that the change they chose was someone who made money by licensing his image to buildings, fighting legal action and showing an inability to live in the real world.
In America, you are either left or right even though both main parties are now so similar you would struggle to find a difference. You pick your side and you are there forever. That is not healthy. Sometimes the more conservative approach works and sometimes a more liberal way works it depends on the issue at hand. It is never one or the other.
America is the epicentre of the social justice warrior movement. A group who chase offence with self-importance and who appear to have an inability to stand on their own beliefs and challenge those who disagree, Ireland has this too (https://www.facebook.com/peopleb4profit/ there is a video from 3 Trinity College students getting someone they disagree with banned from the college). Instead they depend on violence to stop people expressing themselves, sounds familiar from the history books doesn’t it? Recently an unedited video surfaced from a lecture where an SJW did not believe in biology or scientific proof of gender. This is a problem. It is equal parts frightening and comedic. The police treat kids in bikinis like they are smuggling bombs and celebrities are treated like leaders in debate. Meryl Streep gets up and talks about understanding and tolerance, while wearing a 20 grand dress in front of other actors who haven’t been stuck on a train at rush hour in a long time. The gap between the ‘them’ and ‘us’ has never been bigger and that leads to their current presidential predicament.
It may appear that I am on my high horse, but there is a saying. ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’. In Ireland there is an insane political system populated by careerists. But we also have a population that continues to vote the same people in. We have a ‘you scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours’ way of business which leads to the Healy Rae family getting up and talking about the war on flowers in a public park. Never mind the homeless people, they don’t vote! The pensioners who walk in the park will vote for me if I get the park cleared.
This is where we live. This is how our island works. Our police force have been accused on multiple occasions of smearing innocent people with varying crimes, because they reported wrong doings by the force. If I get accused of anything at work that needs an investigation, I would be sent home pending the outcome. In Ireland, in the Garda Siochana, the commissioner is allowed stay in place. It is insane. Either she has something on the people in government or they know we will forget about this if they spring another story. We have horrific stories coming out about abuse against children under state care since the smearing thing came out and it is slowly disappearing from the headlines.
I think that bring the introduction to an end. Basically I am a frustrated man struggling to make sense of people who use important constructs of the world for their own gains while promising to look out for those less well off. For any American readers, there is no malice intended and I expect debate and abuse on my observations from thousands of miles away, but I am always open to enlightenment and correction from all.
For my Irish readers, I think we need a beer!
This will be weekly observations on a world filled with beautiful people, run by people who couldn’t run a bath.
@nkeegan on twitter and @kdubdd on instagram