As if to hammer home my point from last night, the mega bonfire is not just about one culture or the other, it’s about the failure of both work the institutions of the Belfast Agreement. Here’s Max Boot on the generality of the problem political narcissism:
It’s easy to think there is something wrong with the Northern Irish, but increasingly I wonder if their situation isn’t merely a somewhat more aggravated form of the tribalism that is increasingly visible across the entire world, from the Philippines to Italy, to pick two countries at random that are experiencing significant secessionist movements (by Muslims in the Philippines and northerners in Italy).
We see it even in the United States, where Republicans and Democrats increasingly lack a commonly agreed upon set of facts and a common vocabulary: Are Trump opponents the brave Resistance or contemptible Snowflakes? We are more disunited than ever—or at least more than we have been in a very long time.
A visit to Northern Ireland is a bracing lesson in what can happen if divisions—whether ethnic, racial, religious, regional, or ideological—spin out of control. It’s also a reminder of how hard it can be to patch up civil society once its foundations disintegrate.
Aggravated is the key operative.
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