Agenda NI have a piece on the Obama speech worth looking through.. Their conclusion?
Northern Ireland, as the President implied, can never take its peace for granted. Neither can such a small country always assume presidential attention. In summary, Obama’s expectation is that Northern Ireland will depend less on external goodwill and take more responsibility for creating a better future.[emphasis added]
David McCann writing in his occasional column for the journal.ie put a slightly different twist on it:
Where the current crop of politicians in Northern Ireland are failing, it is the duty of younger people I believe to get ready, take charge and drive the agenda forward. We cannot afford to adopt a ‘so what’ attitude toward our future. The peace that we have become lauded for around the world was hard won and opportunities it gives future generations cannot be squandered by indifference.
I remember back in the early seventies when the emphasis was put on my own generation to get us somewhere different. Eventually, ‘we’ did, however haphazardly and coincidentally. McCann has some usefully Socratic questions to share, particularly with regard opening up fresh ground:
We really need to ask ourselves, what are we so afraid of when it comes to a shared future? Are we really afraid of children learning together? Do we fear a government comprised of people that share power because they want to, not because they have to? Is it so beyond the pale to imagine a society were walls don’t divide communities?
When young people think about questions such as these it might be worthwhile if, instead of pandering to our worst fears, we imagined the shared future that never was and asked ourselves: why not?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty