Hillary Clinton wowed us in Dublin when she received her Honorary Doctorate from Trinity. Her unique style of speaking, honed by years of experience, was a masterclass in communication. But it was her character, the fun and intelligence that won us over.The reaction of Irish people is that she would have won the presidential race if she had presented this fun, outgoing side to the voters.
When Jack Lynch was Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in Ireland, his home city of Cork was dubbed the Real Capital. It has stuck, not least because of Cork people’s reputedly high opinion of themselves and their city. I can say this as a Cork woman myself. I am familiar with the intricacies of oneupmanship on a minute and grand scale.
Less than a month after the 9/11 bombing in New York, my first cousin was scheduled to get married in that city, where she has lived for many years. She duly went ahead with her plans, on the 2nd October, Columbus weekend. The following Monday, the Columbus day parade rolled up Fifth Avenue.
I had passed the fire stations covered with pictures of the dead and lost relatives. The emotion was palpable in the air. So to savour the excitement of bands playing and cheerleaders marching in a display that only the Americans can pull off, was a welcome relief. It symbolised the pioneering spirit of Christopher Colombus, where a city dusted itself down and got on with celebrations in the wake of the worst onslaught in living memory. Mayor Rudi Giuliani took control and his calming influence was key to the city’s recovery.
The parade took well over an hour to pass. I had a good spot behind a barrier and I took photos that are long since deleted of soldiers in plumed hats, nineteenth century minutemen and modern Navy gear. Finally at the back of the parade, there was a commotion. A group of people emerged, walking and stopping to shake hands with onlookers. In the middle, was none other than Hilary Clinton, the Senator recently moved to New York in advance of her presidential bid.
She was dressed in yellow, and was a ball of energy. And yes, she did have charisma, she did exude a vibrant personality. I was not surprised when she came across so well in Dublin, having experienced her presence up close so many years before. Who would have thought that she would end up the defeated candidate and that Rudi Giuliani would end up a key defence lawyer in Trump’s administration.
I vote we name her the Real President in this year when we commemorate a century of votes for women in Ireland. An Honorary Doctorate is really not enough.