In my youth, America inspired me. President Kennedy with his vigorous and glamorous image was positively energising. Like so many I was shattered by his assassination. I wrote a poem about it. Later I had the good fortune to go to Harvard. I have travelled to and from the States many times since and I still find it awe-inspiring. American politics is fascinating, at times very serious and at times show business. After all, Ronald Reagan got to the White House but directly after the Korean War Dwight D Eisenhower, the former Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, was elected President for two terms. Next week we are to be visited by Joe Biden. This I think qualifies as political show business as it will help shore up the Irish-American vote for the Democrats, and the locals in Counties Mayo and Louth will be delighted. This leads directly on to the central question. Is Joe actually going to run for re-election and the awkward question his staff feel uncomfortable answering? Is he too old to run? Last June the Harvard Centre for American Political Studies together with Harris conducted a poll that showed that 64% of Americans thought he was too old to be President. Interestingly also, David Gergen, a respected advisor to four Presidents, said: “I do feel it’s inappropriate to seek that office after you’re 80.” So, as Joe has now hit the big 80, I think it is quite legitimate to ask: “Is he too old to run?” After all, he is in one of the most demanding jobs in global politics and decisions made by him could affect us all.
Then this week, to my dismay, we were confronted by the alternative, the semi-perp walk of Don with the orange hair beamed from the courthouse in the southern district of New York, followed by a groupie rally from the ballroom in his garish emporium in Palm Beach. I made the mistake of staying up to watch his grievance-driven rant against the judge and the prosecutors involved in the case against him. However, he lashed out at all and sundry, saying the case was, “an insult to our country” and that the country was, “going to hell”. He said nothing original. Trump is in serious trouble and this is not the only case he is facing. He may be able to fire up his base with his repetitive grievance-driven drivel but I’m not sure it will impress middle America, which is what is going to matter in the next presidential election. It is a great shame for a great country like America that the current choice looks like it is between an indicted liar, and the man judged too old to hold the office.
On the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, I salute the many unsung heroes who worked in the background.
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