Trapped By The Past

I’ve been wondering lately how the rest of the world views the political happenings in the United States. My only glimpse on this had come through the US media, which presented an unpleasant picture but is completely untrustworthy. So I decided to see for myself.

With my wife having a bun in the oven and lacking sufficient funds to travel the world, I had to choose my destination carefully. It had to be somewhere I could get a flavor for a large swath of the planet’s population within a short period of time – and be relatively close.

Paris was out because I don’t speak French. Berlin was out because my German is nearly as bad as my English. China was too far and expensive, plus the whole language barrier thing again.

So I chose Ireland.

We went there on our honeymoon in 2015, so I knew the lay of the land. They speak English, and so do most of the tourists. Dublin is a truly international city, crawling with travelers from every corner of the planet.

If you’ve never been to the Emerald Isle, I highly recommend it. From the east coast it’s an affordable and fairly short flight. It’s beautiful, the people are friendly, you can understand the media, and it’s worth it for the thrill of driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road.

In the next few weeks I’ll recount what I heard, read and saw of the people in Ireland – many of whom were visitors like us – and how they view the United States and what our media this week started to call, in oddly uniform fashion, “chaos.” But first I wanted to tell you what happened to me while touring formerly violence-ravaged areas of Belfast and later that night at a traditional Irish show in Dublin.

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Ireland is two countries with a shared culture and history. It’s interesting – fascinating, really – but it’s also a place trapped by its past.

It’s not just trapped in its past; it’s almost a prisoner to it.

I bring this up not to mock…