What L.A. and Belfast Have in Common

Should Two Famously Divided Cities Forget or Remember the Past to Move Forward in the Present?

To govern a divided city, you need to balance your remembering with some forgetting.

That was my takeaway after moderating a recent public event that used Zoom to link live audiences in two famously divided cities, on opposite sides of the world.

One city, Belfast, is a place so full of physical divisions that the differences between people can feel inescapable. The other, Los Angeles, lacks a shared historical memory and thus manages to forget the depth and persistence of its divides.

Of course, these are two very different places. The city of …