Full disclosure. I identify with the Irish. I like their spunk, directness and terrific sense of humor.
I even open and close versions of this show with Irish music. Undertaking a one-person survey, I asked a close colleague what he thought about the Irish. His response might echo your feelings: “I just like them.”
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What is it about Ireland that makes us happy? Lush green fields, epic tales and wistful views of the sea for starters.
Visiting Ireland many years ago, I searched for my Irish roots. Indeed, I found them. It turned out that the Starr family had its very own crest – with a lion at the top and the scales of justice< balanced in the center. I was thrilled. The fact that our name was shortened to Starr when my grandfather immigrated to America made no difference whatsoever. Clearly, I'm part-Irish. So, like forty million Irish Americans, I enjoyed President Obama's trip to Ireland. It was a welcomed break after the minefield drama over Israel's return to the 1967 borders. As everyone and their pet should know by now, President Obama gave a major policy address on May 18 stating: "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." The line referred to Israel's boundaries before it took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 Six Day War. President Obama argued that Israel's 1967 borders had been the starting point for negotiations for over a decade." Others countered, "But a U.S. president never said it publicly, thereby putting pressure on Israel." The media went wild over Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's reaction, Obama's counter-reaction and Bibi's counter-counter-response. Of course, the issue is much more complicated, but let's not get distracted. Great-great-great…
The president was cool under fire, knowing that in just a few short hours, he’d be embracing his Irish roots in the charming town of Moneygall (reuniting with the spirit of his great-great-great grandfather). And the best part: imbibing a glass of Guinness beer in a handsome Irish pub surrounded by real folks.
Americans voters were so weary with ancient borders and truly epic tornadoes that everyone was ready for a drink of ale.
Another friend wrote me, “It’s a good thing they didn’t ask him to kiss the Blarney Stone.”
“And I’ve come home,” Obama told a 25,000-person crowd, “to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way.”
Of course that was a different era – when the Democrats were threatening Medicare. Who knew that the Republicans secretly wanted to turn Medicare into an IPO?
One night stand.
But then Obama left Ireland and reality set in. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times captured the sunset moment:
“Swaddled in the afterglow, the Irish are trying to figure out: Was it true love or merely a one-day stand? Not even a whole night, after all, since Barry O’Bama ran off after the ecstatic lovefest, muttering some incredible excuse about a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland. The tall, dark stranger who bewitched an island didn’t say when he’d be calling again to help out with Ireland’s $100 billion debt.”