Thoughts on the Election in Light of my Research on Irish History

In 1921 the Anglo-Irish war ended with Ireland achieving freedom from Britain except for six counties in the northern part of the country that now make up Northern Ireland. This had not been the goal of the war. The goal had been a united Ireland, free of British interference. However, the predominantly Protestant counties of the north feared the loss of their status and power if part of a united Ireland with a majority of Catholics. So a deal was brokered behind doors allowing them to remain under British rule and thereby maintain Protestant supremacy. (A simplified relating of a complicated situation.)

This set the stage for years of violence as what started as a war for freedom from Britain, morphed into a religious war setting Protestant against Catholic as laws were established by those governing Northern Ireland that favored Protestants and served to keep Catholics in poverty. This resulted in years of bloodshed, turning Northern Ireland, especially Belfast into a war zone until the peace accord in 1998.

Such is the results of hanging onto privileged status at all costs. The Bible has strong words to say about this—the exalted will be humbled and the humble exalted.

Few like to have privileges ripped from their hands. Sometimes they will fight to the death to keep their privilege, rather than gracefully letting go. It came to me that a similar dynamic may be at play in the upcoming election. White males are experiencing a threat to their supremacy and so are reacting in anger. Donald Trump, the alpha male, is tapping into this anger in his campaign.

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It is a different world from the world I grew up in during the ‘60’s. Back then, white men were supreme. We had the woman’s movement and groups working for racial equality trying to change this, but they were miles away from reaching this goal of equality. Today, white men still dominate Congress and most board rooms, but we are seeing significant change.

When writing my book for newly married couples, I was reminded that issues about roles within marriage, especially the distribution of household chores, are not the same as it was for me when I married over thirty years ago. Chores are much more equally shared between husband and wife than in the 1980’s. We haven’t reached complete equality yet, but we are much closer.

And now we have an African American president and the possibility of a woman president. We’ve come a long way, but we aren’t there yet. The fact that we are making progress is evidenced by the angry backlash we are seeing as those who have held power are starting to feel it slip from between their fingers.

I may not agree with Hilary on all of her policies, but I don’t believe she deserves to be called a hag and every other derogatory term that has been aimed at women over the centuries.

There are those who claim the country is going in the wrong direction. Not only that, they claim Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have destroyed the nation that they love.

During the eight years that George W. Bush was president we experienced the worst terrorist attack in our history, 9/11, then the Iraq war which was justified based on faulty intelligence about alleged weapons of mass destruction. This further destabilized this volatile area of the world, leaving us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Then there was the recession of 2008. Nothing comparable has happened during Obama’s eight years. Our economy has been slowly coming back from the recession. Yes, not everyone has experienced a comeback, but it is far better than when Obama took office in 2009.

If the change Trump supporters are protesting is greater involvement by women and minorities in governing our country, giving them equal say with white men, then I am all for this change. Of course, this is not their expressed policy. It lies within the collective unconscious of the group, not necessarily named or recognized, but present none-the-less.

I love the men in my life, most of whom are white. I’m not trying to knock them down. Nor do I think that every follower of Trump is doing so out of male white anger. I just think there is room at the top for a more diverse population.

Perhaps if the ruling Protestant class of Northern Ireland had been more open to sharing power with Catholics, they could have avoided the bloodshed of the 1970’s-90’s. If they had been willing to join with the rest of Ireland in a united front back in 1921, their history would have been greatly altered. But it wasn’t.

Hopefully we can learn something from their mistakes.

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