Yes, I do live in the country that voted to leave the EU and has since descended into political rhubarb. Egos all over the place and zero care for the country and its people, whichever way they voted in the referendum.
Of course I have opinions on this, and feelings about it. I was not allowed to vote on this decision, and from here on as well, I will have little influence on whatever decisions will be made, no matter how much they will impact on my life.
For most of this, just at present, I stay in the background, watching what’s unfolding (or rather erupting, exploding and imploding) around me. I will not join in the general guessing and fearing and puzzling and raging. I don’t see what for. Nobody currently knows where this will lead. It’s great fodder for the papers and for TV and for comedians and any other sort of profession that enjoys making the most of such events.
Maybe this is just the introvert in me waiting for the storm to blow over. Nothing can be clarified in this noise. I have not yet heard just one voice speaking sense in all this.
So I retreat from this particular debate, and wait, taking in as little emotional upheaval and stress and craze as I can manage. It’s all gnawing away at itself in the back of my mind anyway, together with every other question I have no answer to.
I have been much more decisively present for other things that happened in the last weeks – the shootings at an LGBT club in Orlando, the vigil and prayers and worries, and then Pride in London. Choosing to meaningfully live this – while I can’t meaningfully contribute to the current political circus.
Of course I wonder what the circus will mean for the future. Where I will live in a few years.
But I have been wondering about that for a long time already. That’s not a new question. It’s just a newly added circumstance.
There is so much I don’t know about the future, important unknowns that I have been trying my damnedest to figure out for quite some time. Now the boat is just a lot bigger, and everyone else seems to be in it with me. Uncertainty is the word of the year now. So what’s new.
But I am more worried about the bigger picture, of which the referendum was only one part – I worry about the ongoing rise in very vocal right-wing views, and, indeed and increasingly, crimes. I’m worried about the fact that the reaction to an economical crisis in 2016 doesn’t seem much different from the reaction to an economical crisis in 1929. I look at countries all over the world turning to black-and-white polemics we all thought were safely in the past, for rescue from their fears. I know where that led almost 100 years ago, and I see the same hateful verbiage pouring into people’s minds now. Look at what is going on around us.
I worry that we are walking straight into a pit of our own making. People already choose whichever leader seems most self-assured – whoever is loudest and brashest is heard… Any sort of authority will do, no matter how empty or how destructive it is. We end up trusting narcissists with no concern for anyone’s perspective but their own, with little to show for themselves, neither in character nor in contributions to the country they live in, and we give them our lives and the lives of our neighbours to decide on. Let them be careless, just as long as we feel safe, knowing what we can expect to hear for once. Let life be simple, for once. There is no room for vulnerability and openness anymore, for things like difference or subtlety, sharing resources or gradual progress. Instead we leap backwards, losing the ground we had gained in so many areas – racism and xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism… This is what I worry about. How is this to be stopped? It already feels like an out-of-control train, wreck in sight.
“I don’t want my past to become anyone else’s future.”