Politics. A volatile subject, to say the least. Definitely not a civilized topic of conversation between sane human beings, if you ask me. Even discussing it with my best friend and dear husband, it still ends up getting a little heated and perhaps ending with an agreement to disagree.
I have virtually no idea whatsoever about Irish politics; the structure of the system, the function of the individual members, the leanings of the candidates. All I really do know is that the new Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, is well-respected locally, taught at NUIG, hails from the Galway area. I hear a lot of talk about the economics of the “Eurozone” and about the state of the European economy but it means very little to me. I’m disinclined to learn much about it too, as it will only add anxiety to my everyday fiscal worries.
However it’s been difficult for me to divorce myself from American politics even from this distance. I can’t get input from Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert any more, as Comedy Central videos don’t play here. So I have to get my information from sources I kinda sorta trust but am not too thrilled with: Raw Story, HuffPo, CNN, Mediaite and the like. I liked watching Herman Cain’s train break down and derail. What a smarmy son-of-a-bitch he is. It’s been almost amusing watching the GOP candidates take turns rising and falling in the polls, kind of like an amusement park ride, up, down, up, down. Certainly Michele Bachmann hasn’t got a gnat’s chance in a hurricane – I mean, the Republican War on Women isn’t going to leave her out just because she is one of them; she is nothing more than a token at best. Besides, a gay First Husband? No way, Jose.
I’ve made friends with an American woman who has been in Ireland for a couple of years now, who professes to know little about the current Repub candidates, but nevertheless expressed the opinion that Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP nominee. Considering what boobs Perry and Santorum are turning out to be, that’s a distinct possibility. Unfortunately Newt Gingrich is now at the forefront of the polls.
Barney Frank, bless his heart, has said that he’s casting The Wizard of Oz from the GOP line-up, with Romney as the Tin Woodsman (no heart), Perry as the Scarecrow (no brain) and Newt Gingrich as the Wizard (all bluster, smoke & mirrors, no substance). He said he’d love to debate the Defense of Marriage Act with Gingrich, who is on his third marriage. I’m terrified that Gingrich even has a chance to get anywhere in this race, because I know his record. He’s pathological, so anchored to the corporate overlords that he’s even been sanctioned by Congress for it. And yet the GOP is currently embracing him as their best hope to defeat Obama.
One thing I do know is that I am happy to not cast a vote. Yes, I know, I’m shirking my duty as a loyal American. You know what? It is my right as a free born American citizen to NOT exercise my right to vote, too. I’ve been there, done that, even have the tee shirt. The only presidential candidate I ever voted for who won, and whose administration was not something I was ashamed to say I helped facilitate, was Bill Clinton. I voted for Obama, and what did that get us? A little cachet with some foreign nations, a lame effort at equalizing the playing field for LGBT people… and little else. I see him as one of the least effective presidents to serve in office in my lifetime. My own opinion, your mileage may vary!!
The decision I have come to is to sit back and watch the circus play out in front of my eyes. And live in the hope that Claude’s contract gets renewed and we can stay here in Ireland, well removed from the ongoing lunacy of American politics. Maybe I’ll even learn a bit about the Irish political system – just for conversational purposes.