Wednesday 13 December 2017

Noisy rows 'a mark of US democracy': ambassador

Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

THE arguments that stir passions during a US presidential election are a mark of the country's "liberty", Ambassador Kevin O'Malley said last night.

Mr O'Malley told the US Embassy's 2016 Election Party at the Guinness Storehouse that democracy in the USA can be "complicated".

The packed party to mark the end of a marathon campaign saw stars and stripes, life-size balloon statues of Donald Trump and a giant Statue of Liberty ice luge.

Garda Commisssioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and TD Michael Healy Rae were among the guests.

As punters sank pints and watched US election coverage on giant TV screens, the volume in the room increased.

Taking to the stage, Ambassador O'Malley welcomed guests.

"You would think that after so many elections we Americans would be used to this, calm about it. But no," he said.

"Democracy in a nation of over 300 million people can be noisy, robust and often complicated. Each of us have our own opinions and deeply held beliefs.

"When we go through tough times and make big decisions as a country, it inevitably stirs passions.

"That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.

"The United States is a country founded on the principle of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people - in Abraham Lincoln's famous words.

"This democratic process - as exhausting as it can be - is what makes us the United States of America."

Guests were encouraged to vote for their preferred candidate and pose next to balloon versions of them.

The 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail' was hosted by Dr Patrick Geoghegan and 'Borders, Bridges and Beyond' was another packed out event.

Irish Independent

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