That blasted election seemed to run forever. From the outset, my only amazement was that a country like America had only those two candidates to choose from. It is a sad reflection on what they, at least, think is the greatest country on earth. Even Ronald Reagan is a colossus by comparison to Clinton and Trump. The punchline in that George Best joke comes to mind. "Where did it all go wrong?"
Certainly the opinion formers in the establishment media were firmly in favour of Hilary but then they were also firmly in favour of the UK remaining in the EU. So that's two black eyes for that lot then. When Trump refused to say he would accept the result if it didn't go his way, Hilary all but said, "What else would you expect from such a low-life?" But it is her followers who are now bitching loudly about Trump's election and they're in complete denial over the (unexpected) outcome.
A wag down my local reckons that the Yanks could just about stomach a black man in the White House but a woman was a step too far for them. Certainly some commentators reacting here have suggested that this is one in the eye for world feminism and I can see how they might think that too. But perhaps it's about time the more extreme fringes of feminism got a good kick up the hole? For me, the choice between them had nothing to do with the sex of either candidate.
The other suggestion floating around is that the white males had enough of being criticized for being, well, whites males actually. We do seem at times to be the only minority left that you are allowed to publicly insult and belittle. The white man has become some kind of parody of evil in many minds. We're misogynist rapists who can't be trusted around children apparently. Our fatherhood is so demeaned that in a divorce, the woman always gets custody regardless. Maybe the white men struck back? But the numbers show that the white women did too so that can't be it.
When I look closer to home though I can see a clear disconnect between the rulers and the ruled. Years of our betters lying to us and cheating us have come home to roost. We had a whole bunch of new faces in the Dail after the last election and none of them from main stream parties. Farage in the UK surprised the establishment but I wasn't that surprised. This has been coming for a long time, as has something like Trump. It is finally the backlash of the demeaned and belittled in our societies and the emergence of a defiance towards the usual authorities. It is a crisis for both democracy and capitalism. David McWilliams covers this here this morning and, as usual, he's worth a read.
Having said all that, who knows what the Trump will actually do now that he's in the White House. His first move has been to accept a dollar a year for the privilege. But will he press the nuclear button and end it for all of us? Will he pull back all the American multi-nationals on to home turf and send Ireland back to the dark ages? Will he be good for the average American and get some true pride back in that glitzy flag of theirs? Or will he make a horse's ass of the whole thing? What are his true intentions and ambitions? I believe they will emerge slowly and with little evident cohesion.
Finally yesterday, one of our home grown correspondents said something sensible about Trump's America. On RTE 1 radio the lad simply pointed out that we here in Ireland couldn't give a shit what happens in America as long as our own interests are unaffected. Isn't the honesty of that so refreshing? And he's right of course, (if people spoke truthfully). Our Minister for Finance is already over there talking to potential Trump decision-makers about American interests in Ireland and just how welcome they are. Many years ago Dell Computers had a huge manufacturing plant in Limerick. Then to everyone's surprise and shock, Michael Dell decided to re-locate the whole thing back to Texas.
In the eerie twilight zone before the place shut down, our political classes jumped into action. Three of their number went on an all-expenses paid junket to the States to meet senior executives of Dell in the hope of convincing them to change their minds. Now, to set the mood of any such meeting, our negotiating team was made up of career politicians, or professional liars and bullshiters in other words. There was a sprinkling of self-important yes men from the civil service with them to make up the numbers and together they would have rehearsed some long-winded waffle for the busy Dell boys to listen too. If Michael Dell had any doubts before that meeting, that shower of idiots would have convinced him of the wisdom of getting out of Ireland. An insider at the time reported that they got about four minutes of Michael's time but the press here at home painted them as Ireland's warriors taking on the giants of America.
And now Michael Noonan is over there to do the same thing with Trump's boys, God help our wit. Oh, I wish him luck of course, but he's going to need more than that. Yanks don't waste time or talk waffle and they hate having to listen to it. They will make the big deal in seconds though if it is well thought out and they perceive advantages for themselves. The trick for our Michael Noonan would be to have a win-win solution for what is a clear problem for Trump. Go to them with a profitable solution for both parties and they'll see sense in it. Feed them shit about our historical and cultural links and their eyes will glaze over. If Noonan has any brain he'll have Tim Cook of Apple on his team and there are valid reasons why Tim might want to be there. Tim will talk their language and even think like them. He has skin in the game too because he has already told Trump that Apple has €130Bn lying offshore waiting for a sensible rate of corporate tax to be introduced in America. Trump heard that and probably wondered about Google, Microsoft, Pfizer and all the rest of them in Ireland. I have an uneasy sense that Donald has ambitions for these pieces of Americana far from home.
But would Hilary be any different?