Predicting just where and when the Ulster Unionist Party leader is going to let fly is not unlike predicting an earthquake on a seismic fault line.
We know it’s inevitable but somehow we are still surprised when it happens.
Trimble certainly picked his spot well for his latest discharge, aimed yet again at the Republic to his political south.
The editorial board of the Chicago Sun Times probably doesn’t have to deal with this kind of nation-trashing very often but it served its readership well by publishing Mr. Trimble’s jaundiced comments on the existence and nature of a country that has contributed so much over the years to the Windy City’s political, social and economic life.
Those of us that are Irish or Irish American might be missing something here but we at least occasionally like to consider that we have made some positive contributions to America and that our values, carried anew by each generation to these shores, have served to form part of the greater American character, and those shared American institutions that make our nation truly great.
This is not to deny the existence of distinctly English values, Scottish or Welsh values, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese or African American ones.
We recognize and appreciate them all even as we exult in our own.
Mr. Trimble’s sense of what values and institutions are needed to make a democratically viable nation state seem to be somewhat confined to that misty, romantic netherworld dominated by a value system that the New York Post editorial page might describe as “Anglo-American.”
Note, by the way, the above order of values used in the recent Post leader that ridiculously compared Gerry Adams to Osama Bin Laden.
Neither the Post’s Anglo-American world, nor David Trimble’s British and American version, bear much relation to the present day nations we call America and Britain.
No, what both are speaking of is more of a leftover shard of a world that the founding fathers of the United States of America saw fit to destroy with a constitution inspired by the desires and values of men and women drawn from many nations, Ireland included.
The Republic of Ireland certainly shares its democratic values and institutions with America and Britain.
But they stand in their own right on foundations painfully laid by generations of men and women who were simply Irish and nothing else.