Friday, June 24, 2016
Watching Britain inflict a wound on itself like that is particularly disheartening. I have had nothing but respect and awe for the United Kingdom my whole life. I went there when I was seventeen, and have always admired its principles, its celebration of its own history, but that celebration of its own history came with a price yesterday, valuing a ridiculous notion of "becoming an empire again" by sacrificing economy, their currency, their unity, and world safety through a vote result that can only be described as xenophobic and racist. It's hard to look at such a thing objectively. Britain has, for reasons that are not entirely clear since the economic argument makes no sense and the only reason seems to have been to stop the flow of immigrants into a country with an aging work-force and a decreased birth rate (i.e. a country that's going to need immigrants), watched the GBP drop to a near thirty year low, the world stock markets plunge, likely will have Scotland and/or Northern Ireland leave the country (further inflicting great harm on the country), and could cause the disbandment of the EU, or at least make it a less politically viable option. The European Union, arguably the greatest example of democratic progress of the past 100 years, could be disbanded as a major world superpower.
Couple that with the Supreme Court decision yesterday that President Obama's immigration plan, letting 4 million people who live in the shadows of the United States but have been here for years, perhaps even decades, come out and publicly live their lives was, well, neither legal or unconstitutional since the Court ended once again in a tie. The reality of the situation is, of course, that this shouldn't have resulted in a tie. The president months ago nominated arguably the most qualified judge in the history of the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, to the bench and by now he should have already received an up-or-down vote (and based on his qualifications an "up" vote) and been able to sit in on this case, likely helping these 4 million people from being deported but surely giving a definitive answer to this question rather than make these people wait in limbo for another few months.
It's hard to have answers to these horrible miscarriages of justice and, in particular with Brexit, watch a campaign devoid of facts cause the country to instill an enormous amount of harm onto itself, particularly considering that the poorer regions of England, the industrial areas, will have the biggest hit under this exit from the EU despite being fed a campaign that they were helping themselves. This is exactly what is happening in the United States, where a man who is proclaiming his answer is more walls and a stop to immigration, particularly of people of color, is the answer for places like coal mining country, but looking there you realize that a stop to immigration and walls are not the answer for those parts of the country, but an embrace of modernity and reality (coal is going extinct as an energy source regardless of who wins in November).
I honestly don't know what will happen here for Britain-this is a big wound, and it's hard to see a clear path forward after such an event. David Cameron rightfully resigned, stating he cannot embrace the vision forward for his country and it's hard to see what that even is. Britain will likely have to go through some truly seismic, once-in-a-hundred-years-style growing pains in the next year or so, potentially losing Scotland or Northern Ireland forever from a lack of foresight and a dangerous wealth of hubris. The Supreme Court decision has other avenues, none of them easy, though perhaps the best one will be what happens in November-at least there there's a part two to this equation.
But that's where I implore you, beg you, plead with you, to get out of your comfort zone and talk about the election in November with your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, and find a way to ensure that more votes are against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton. Reading anecdotal reports this morning, many people thought that they were sending a message with "Leave," never assuming that it would actually pass. Donald Trump could win in November-that is a cold, hard fact. Forget the polls-the polls in Britain were dead wrong so they should provide little comfort to Democrats. The only thing stopping him is people speaking up, having their voices heard, and casting ballots. The idea of not voting is one that should fill you with shame and in my opinion is an act of cowardice. Make sure that other people don't wake up the next morning filled with regret over their chance to save the country, and realize that they will have to live with that guilt and the unknown ramifications of what comes next forever.