After Obama and our #SoWhat politics, what comes next?

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?

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  • socaire

    The Catholic Church/schools are afraid that our ‘catholic ethos’ will be watered down and eventually be subsumed into ‘liberal protestantism’. The fact that nationalism may also be watered is collateral damage. Nationalists are afraid that the lure of ‘progressive britishness’ will tempt our young people away and we will all end up as a bland holiday destination like the Isle of Mananain or like the Eastern 26 counties.

  • Mick Fealty

    Is the case for re-unification really that febrile though socaire?

  • michael-mcivor

    ” The duty of younger people i believe to get ready-to take charge and drive the agenda forward “-

    I am all for hippy talk sometimes but what do these younger people do now-join todays political partys-start there own-become independent-shout on street corners-filling young peoples heads with big ideas is worthless unless they have a direction in which way to go also-

    one direction for them-or let them get back to the music-

  • Morpheus

    Of all the current political parties I would say that SF are positioning themselves very strategically. With impressive politicans like Pearce Doherty and Mary-Lou McDonald pushing through SF 2.0 (minus the old guard) will likely be the biggest party in NI, include a SF First Minister after the next assembly elections and third biggest party in ROI providing a strong all-Ireland party.

    SDLP – on the ropes. UUP – on the ropes,
    NI21 – making progress, Alliance – holding on
    DUP – we’ll see.

  • socaire

    Dunno about febrile – more like comatose. We all know what we don’t like -well, at least we hope to recognise it when we meet it – but not too sure where to draw the lines. We stumble from convulsion to convulsion.

  • “I am convinced that this little island that inspires the biggest of things: this little island, its best days are yet ahead” .. President Obama

    Did I miss something? Was he on Rathlin? The islanders must have been a bit disappointed when a mere Minister turned up to open its new sewage works 😉

    It seems the presidential political gaffe attracted less attention than the education one.

    “I remember back in the early seventies when the emphasis was put on my own generation to get us somewhere different.”

    Some of us tried but Ian Paisley and John Hume ‘triumphed’ over Ray Davey and ‘rights’ trumped ‘responsibilities’.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Who has been the breakthrough young politican/social activist in today’s NI media:-

    Jamie Bryson

    What a daring break from the past that is!