Wednesday 22 November 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Obama has 40 million reasons to visit here

Don't be too chuffed by president's visit, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards -- and please don't ask him what he thinks of us

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

PLEASE, please, please, don't let us make eejits of ourselves when President Obama comes to Ireland. Let us be welcoming, yes, but let us not behave like 1950s nuns over-excited by the arrival of a cardinal or -- for we are modern -- hormonally-challenged fans of Justin Bieber.

We are maturing as a nation. Let us face facts. Barack Obama is calling by Ireland because he's running for election in 2012 and around 40 million Americans think they have Irish connections.

We were naive when John F Kennedy visited in 1963 and easily convinced he had come because he wanted to see us and not because he was facing a tight election in 1964. We had swallowed all the guff about the fairy-tale marriage and the devotion to the faith, so how could we not love a handsome, charismatic Catholic with a great-grandfather called Patrick Kennedy from Dunganstown in County Wexford? The mawkish coverage of the visit to the ancestral home was truly cringe-making: the awfulness of his murder a few months later enshrined him in our consciousness as a martyred son of Erin.

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