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The Second Coming of Obama


Barack Obama in Ollie Hayes Bar in Moneygall, Co Offaly during his 2011 visit

Barack Obama in Ollie Hayes Bar in Moneygall, Co Offaly during his 2011 visit

Barack Obama in Ollie Hayes Bar in Moneygall, Co Offaly during his 2011 visit

Marian Finucane didn't ham it up too much. She casually said to the American ambassador that she believed Barack Obama had a message for the Irish. Yes, the ambassador told her. When he met with Obama last week, the last thing Obama said to the ambassador was: "Tell them I'm coming."

Those four words, biblical in their simplicity yet of momentous self-importance, electrified the nation. We couldn't have been more excited if it had been a message from Santa Claus. Or if it'd been Christ himself announcing the second coming. In years to come, a generation of Irish liberals will remember where they were when they heard that He Is Coming.

And how thoughtful of him to send us this consoling message at this time of deep national grief. Clearly he knew how we must be feeling. Because he certainly doesn't seem to lack a welcome for himself, and he certainly doesn't underestimate the tragedy of his reign being over.

Because make no mistake, the country is in an unofficial period of mourning. This, for us, is like Castro's death was for Michael D. Multiply Garth Brooks by Bruce Springsteen and you don't get near Obama's pulling power here. When he does come, they could put him on in Slane. He wouldn't need an act. He could just do that slightly superior, cooler-than-thou thing he does and vaguely talk down to us, and we'd lap it up. And let's face it, it'd be good for him, too, because it's going to be hard suddenly not being the messiah any more.

He might even bring Michelle. That would be too much for us altogether. We love Michelle. We want her to be our friend. It's the only thing most people envy Fionnuala Kenny for. There was even a little montage of Michelle on the news the other night, with some of our favourite moments, including her Carpool Karaoke. It was as if someone had died.

In the meantime, back in the real world, we are being reminded of that curious thing that we often forget. That maligned right wingers can be good for the economy. The markets, as they say, are booming, and there's a steady flow of good economic news out of the US, and even here. Even the UK hasn't fallen off a cliff.

It's almost as if ordinary people, and ordinary businesses, and all those things that make up economies haven't got the memo - Brexit and Trump are going to ruin the world. Doubtless the worst is yet to come. But right now, touch wood, it seems that things are going pretty nicely, thank you. You'd almost worry that evil capitalism and right-wing politics might actually be good at creating jobs and stimulating economies.

But never mind all that. He. Is. Coming.

Sunday Independent