November 17, 2021
General News

When Political Fervor Turns Religious

In the spring of 2016, as it was beginning to look like Donald Trump might actually win the Republican presidential nomination, I attended a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School by Michael Ignatieff, a prominent Canadian politician and academic. He was appalled by Trump’s rise, as were we all. But I was struck by his peculiarly Canadian analysis.

“Politics,” he said, “should be boring.”

American politics for the past half dozen years has certainly not been boring. Rather than simply voting (or not) and otherwise paying little attention to what’s going on in Washington, we have been riveted by the spectacle — elated when our candidates win, horrified when they lose.

You might even say we now approach politics with something approaching a religious fervor. And, in fact, that is exactly what is going on. As the country becomes increasingly secular, too many of us have turned to…

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