The Irish Perspective on President Trump

The Irish Perspective on President Trump
December 29 09:29 2017 Print This Article

Modern day globalization has made American politics a central focus around the world. The internet and international news outlets provide a platform for the often entertaining conflict in American politics to be examined and discussed. The unfortunate issue with much of the mainstream news, especially in foreign countries separated from the direct effect of our new administration, is that the portrayal of our leaders is often biased or incomplete, resulting in distorted opinions by the masses. Today, this is manifested as the “Trump hate” dominating much of pop culture and the media, which has made it a popular stance on the international stage.

When I flew into Ireland to begin my first semester at National University, I didn’t expect to see such a fervor against President Trump. One of the first people I spoke to, the cab driver, talked about the Irish hate for our President almost right away. From then on, I saw it time and time again, from the streets to the classroom. Regardless of their political slant, I noticed a common theme when talking about Trump with the natives. For the most part, their objections were not based on his political views but on his persona. For example, someone once complained to me about the fact that when Trump visited the Hurricane Harvey victims, he wore a suit. This man thought that dressing nice around the people who had lost so much was inappropriate and inferred that it must make Trump an incompetent leader.

The Irish people also like to reference the general “arrogant tone” of his speeches and tweets, and my professors like to throw around words like “racist” or “xenophobic,” citing their disagreements with his immigration policy. I would attribute this focus on Trump’s image to two things. First, the majority of mainstream news tends to highlight it. Second, Irish politics are nowhere near as party-driven as in America. Hardly anyone votes according to party; in fact, many will switch between parties depending on the candidate. So, what matters to Irish, and many other European voters is how the candidate is perceived to help the individual, and most people believe that a candidate with a congenial nature will make things better.

Trump hatred in Ireland is based on an ambiguous understanding of his character. However, it is not as prevalent in my interactions with fellow students. For them, Trump doesn’t offer much more than entertainment. The majority of those who make fun of him don’t make legitimate arguments against him. My peers in the political science classes are better informed than most. They can look beyond how Trump is portrayed in the media and some actually agree with his policies. Though they may dislike his character and often participate in jokes about “the wall,” they are mainly interested in the political issues.

It’s refreshing to see an even mix of political ideals on a college campus, especially when American campuses have a reputation for leaning very left and being intolerant of different views. The non-partisan Irish culture has taught the young people to develop political opinions based upon the values of the individual candidates. For the great majority who seem to value a prominent display of good character above political stance, Trump is viewed as a threat to the world. For others, who research Trump’s policies on the Internet offers from a variety of sources, Trump is viewed more favorably. As an American, I appreciate how important our politics and our elected officials are to the rest of the world.

 

MacKenzie Fowler is a political science major at the National University of Ireland at Galway. She is a two time award winning historical documentary filmmaker who represented South Carolina at the national level in Washington D.C. The former Wando High School student and Mt. Pleasant resident has a passion for politics and local awareness.