Hostile and polarised, today's America reminds me of my Somalian clan
About a decade ago, when I worked for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), I had to force myself to go to lunch with a friend. I dreaded the meeting because I knew that she was going to try to convince me to leave my job. AEI is a pro-business, conservative-leaning think tank in Washington, DC. My friend was an enthusiastic liberal.
After I had run out of excuses, the day arrived and, predictably, after a few minutes of the usual small talk, my friend launched into a tirade about the Iraq War, which several of my colleagues strongly supported.
“You don’t belong there, Ayaan,” she said.
I remember trying to steer the conversation on to actual policies. I had voted for supporting the American coalition in Iraq when I was a Member of Parliament in The Netherlands — and I started to explain why.
But she wasn’t interested in a rational discussion. She interrupted me mid-sentence, launching into a monologue about John Bolton, the former Ambassador to the United Nations and a fellow at AEI (and subsequently National Security Advisor to President Trump). Bolton, my friend insisted, was a loathsome, hateful, racist, neo-conservative warmonger. The list went on and on until eventually she said that he looked like a walrus with a moustache...
“But what about the policies?” I responded, trying to redirect the conversation away from personalities. The more she spoke, the more I recognised her broad disposition as something I had experienced earlier in my life.
To read the full article, please visit: https://unherd.com/2021/05/tribalism-has-come-to-the-west/