Letters to the Editor: 'Europe needs to stand strong as US isolationism threatens our security'
History is written by the victors, as the saying goes, and nowhere is this more true than in Europe's relationship with the US. Growing up in a Europe rebuilt by America after World War II, there has never been a lack of praise for the country and its people in history books, documentaries and TV shows.
Time and time again, I have seen very positive descriptions of the US, and America has never tried to deny or disagree with these views, even going so far as to claim it is the grandest pillar and example of democracy, freedom and equality.
This is, of course, far from the truth. Claiming equality is a laughable stretch, even the most ignorant people know of the horrible racism that was faced by anyone who was not Protestant, white and Anglo-Saxon in America - including the discrimination faced by Irish immigrants. What is even worse is that this racism isn't even gone - it's still an ever-present problem for certain minorities.
The claim of democracy is just as ludicrous. Many people would try to argue against me on this but, quite frankly, America is a two-party system. As the saying goes, 'A third party vote is a wasted vote'. No matter what anyone tries to say, this is not democracy; not even mentioning the electoral college. Any system that allows a president to lose the popular vote and still enter office is nothing short of undemocratic.
Yet for some reason, the US does not attempt change. It has stagnated in its own political waste and, as a result, has left countries that rely on it to fend for themselves. Europe is facing a crisis, one that many of its citizens do not foresee.
If America continues on its isolationist policy under Trump, we could be facing a collapse of Nato and a withdrawl of American troops from eastern Europe. We need to be prepared and able to stand against the giants of Russia and China. We need to stand united or face a future of eastern domination.
A poem in remembrance of our own fallen soldiers
My father's father fought at the Somme
A British uniform he put on
It wasn't because of Redmond's Call
Nor the Freedom of Small Nations for all
No it was the uniform, and the warm top-coat
The new pair of boots, never owned them before
A weekly wage, with three meals a day
Just for marching and saluting those passing your way
After that it was then over to the Somme
To simply put an end to World War One!
Stories heard in the Mess Room Hall
How great it was going to be for us all
Parading up and down on a beach
But soon it was rations, given out to each
With a helmet, a gun, and your share of fear
To all who stood or lay wounded there
Awaiting the Officer's order for, "Over The Top"
Where you ran for your life across No Man's Land
Jerry waiting behind barbed wire rolls
We got tangled up like lambs in spring
Dying for King and Country!
My father's father his Medic-Band worn
Tended to those who might fight one day more
The dead to remain without Fife or Drum
In this field of Poppies called No Man's Land
A pension given for Shell-Shock and pain
For all he'd seen and would always retain
So bang that drum loudly to remember the Somme
Place those wreaths and bow your heads
For the men who fought
Now a hundred years dead!
Compensation culture is not a referendum issue
I have been puzzled by all the headlines about a referendum for compo payments. I always thought compo was short for compensation which, according to my dictionary, means "money or something else to pay for loss, damage or work done". In each case of whiplash, for instance, such a calculation is simple - medical expenses, car damage and counselling for the shock.
So how come it has turned into a national issue?
Those in Government responsible for the area of justice or law might have a word with a few judges and then we can all move on to more serious matters.
Maynooth, Co Kildare
Varadkar really should stop governing by spin
I think Leo Varadkar needs to tread carefully. Firstly, as a doctor for a few years before fleeing to politics, Mr Varadkar was unwise in telling hospital staff that Christmas wasn't for them or their families to enjoy. Secondly, he seems to see himself, like Enda Kenny, as a world leader. He's not. He governs a small divided nation of 26 counties overshadowed by Border issues. He does this as an unelected Taoiseach. It was his party colleagues who ennobled him after the hapless Kenny.
Our nation has never been more unequal in housing, health and finance. So threatening to hold a referendum on compensation cases is a cheeky thing to do. It's part of spin politics.
Mr Varadkar, call the ultimate referendum, a general election, and let the people decide a way forward at this axis in history. The opposition of SF and its disparate independents are hapless.
Fianna Fáil is now Fine Gael's Neo-Greens or Neo-Labour. Be brave, Leo, but stop ruling by spin.
American elections gave us the best result possible
The US midterm elections were a great victory for the safety of the planet.
Had the Democratic Party achieved a majority in both Houses, it is very likely it would have been blamed for the 'state of the nation' in the 2020 presidential election, thereby giving Donald Trump a likely second four-year term.
With a Democrat-majority House of Representatives and a Republican-controlled Senate, this will result in a stand-off - allowing only for moderate legislation to be passed. In 2020, America will vote for moderation and end the present nightmare brought on by this administration.
Vincent J Lavery
Dalkey, Co Dublin