EddojoThe lockdown has meant that most of us have watched TV much more than is our custom in recent times, and events in the USA have provided some distraction, amusement and even entertainment of a kind.

If the last few weeks of the American race for the presidency have taught the world anything it is surely an abject lesson in how not to conduct politics. At times the spectacle we were treated to was little better than a circus for children complete with clowns and acrobats. Serious debate was submerged in a barrage of personal insults, name calling and innuendo all of which made for sad viewing. The undignified spectacle of the two contenders for the most powerful office in the free world trading insults did little to inspire confidence for the future. As though that wasn't enough we now have the fiasco of a disputed result with the incumbent unwilling to accept defeat. While we must await the outcome of any investigation into the alleged fraud, it is hard to envisage a graceful departure from the White house by the present occupant in any eventuality. It seems that the dignity of the office will be the prime casualty.

Irish politics tends to be a far more civilised affair and thankfully we have little of the personal invective that seems to have characterised the US contest. When politics descends into name calling and mud-slinging there really are no winners and the whole process is diminished by bullyboy tactics. Political arguments need to stand on their own without recourse to playing the man instead of the ball, poor players often have recourse to dirty tactics to disable the opponent, but we all see such behaviour for what it truly is.

There's an old saying that goes 'Self-praise is no praise' and that being true, much of the self-aggrandising rhetoric that we have been treated to from the US is unmasked as little more than flights of egotistical fancy. It's hard to feel that the free world is in safe hands when megaphone diplomacy seems to have replaced the careful nuanced negotiations of the past. The sight of a US President cosying up to tyrants and dictators and claiming them as among his best friends is at best unnerving. The role of the US on the world stage has implications for even the smallest of nations like Ireland. Leaving the World Health Organisation in the middle of a global pandemic and rubbishing the Global warming science that cries out for a response, threatening to leave NATO etc. leaves me for one hoping that change is coming, and the sooner the better.

Philip Curran
St. Mary's Lucan

November 13, 2020 - 9:32pm
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