Acting the Ambassador
As a Mitchell Scholar, one of my responsibilities here in Dublin is to act in an ambassadorial capacity on behalf of America. Thus, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself participating in a debate hosted by the College Historical Society on the motion: “This House regrets the United States of America.” The oldest college organization in the world, the College Historical Society counts Edmund Burke as one of its founders. It hosts debates each week on a variety of topics. On this debate in question, I, of course, took it upon myself to defend the United States. Among other points, my speech focused on the American entrepreneurial spirit, and how our innovation drives improvements in everyday living across the world. I also went after a bit of low-hanging fruit (but pretty important fruit at that), emphasizing the role the United States played in World War II, securing global peace against German and Japanese aggression. Not surprisingly (at least I’d hope not surprisingly), the motion failed. Our side carried the day. The students of the College Historical do not regret the United States of America. Thank goodness.
Absurd debate motions notwithstanding, I have found my interactions with the Irish people concerning the United States to be almost wholly positive. It is quite clear in my interactions with Irish citizens that great deals of them hold a sort of kinship with our country, either because of family living there or a shared sense of history. In fact, on a number of occasions, I have found Irish people willing to go out of their way to help me get acquainted to Dublin, knowing that I’m a visitor from the USA. In fact, one night a couple of weeks ago, I was lost on the way to a pub where I was meeting several other Mitchells. Not only did a kind Dubliner take it upon himself to give me directions, he actually walked me all the way to the pub, giving me a tour of the surrounding Dublin architecture as he did. While certainly above and beyond the normal call of duty, I’ve found that this sort of joviality is not altogether uncommon here in Dublin.
Time has really flown by, and I have but two and a half months left here at Trinity College before I head back stateside. It’s beginning to sink in, slowly but surely, that there aren’t many days left. With this comes an increased urgency to experience as much as possible here in Ireland—and high on that list, definitely, is the kindness of the Irish people.