I like US President Barack Obama - if I was American I would definitely vote for him in this year's presidential election (no rich b*st*r*ds or right wing religious nuts for me). St Patrick's Day presents itself as the ideal opportunity for candidates to be "Irish" for the day.
|Image link from Irish Independent.|
17th March, 2012.
President Obama is part Irish - a very small part. But he wasted no time in grabbing some photo opportunities as he and his cousin Henry from Moneygall in Obama's "Local" in Washington DC sipped a pint. I'm sure there are many Americans who are seething with anger at the photo to the left - but politics is politics, and Obama will need every vote he can get. A "pint of plain" will no doubt go down well among the Irish in America.
There is also another side to this photo - this will be seen all over the world and people will see alcohol and Irishness mixed together. Not for the first time. For the first time (probably since I was a teenager) I did not go to the pub for a Guinness or two on St Patrick's Day - instead I visited my Mum and Dad and had a very nice glass of (Middleton) Irish whiskey.
A very grumpy Kevin Myers, writing in the Irish Independent last Friday, paints a very unflattering picture of the Irish on St Patrick's Day: "For upon March 17th each year, thousands of Irish people will live up to the caricature of the Thick Mick, the drunken halfwit who cannot be relied on to have one drink without having a dozen, and who feels it is his patriotic duty to finish the day by donning a Glasgow Celtic shirt, smashing windows, and stoning any police he can find". And he makes no apology for stereotyping us this way.
We are not all like this: Ireland is the land of Saints and Scholars, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Boyzone, Roy Keane, WB Yeats, Jedward, Tayto, Guinness, cute hoors, red hair, freckles, Barry's Tea, red lemonade (with no lemon), Rory McIlroy, the GAA, Obama, accents, U2, being "grand", black pudding, the colour green, Riverdance, spuds, craic, turf, slagging, feck, and not forgetting St Patrick's Day!