Friday, September 19, 2014

Good evening.  This is the first post on my blog, and this morning we found out that the United Kingdom will remain the United Kingdom - for now.  As my mother is half Irish and half French but was born in merry old London Town, I had more than a passing interest in the outcome of the Scottish vote.

The truth is, I was torn for a number or reasons that I didn't expect.  I too am the product of a mixed marriage.  My mother was born in England, my father was born in Zimbabwe.  Regardless of color, there were times that the differences in my parents' background was very apparent.  I could imagine how there were those who might have lived both in England and Scotland might feel torn, or at the very least unwilling to say where their loyalties were because they didn't want to appear to be disloyal to either side.

Then there was the history - between 1700 and 1850 more than 130 wars or rebellions that the United Kingdom fought together. During that time they fought Napoleon together and so prevented France turning Europe into the United States of Europe.  Queen Victoria came to power in 1837 and the United Kingdom seemed to rule the world together.  After that the Scots, the English and the Irish survived two world wars together.  It is hard to look back at that kind of history and believe that it should be torn apart.  But none of this history was mine, it was my mothers.

I was born in a country that had declared UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) from the United Kingdom six months after my birth.  When I was seven years old a civil war, that last seven years, began.  It was the war of a nation trying to determine who it was.  Right finally prevailed but at great cost and since then Zimbabwe, or more precisely, Zimbabweans have paid the price.  I could understand the struggle for independence.

So when the results were revealed after 11.00pm (EST) last night I sat listening to the BBC with a mix of emotions.

Then this morning on my FB page, a dear American friend (who is something of a rebel - even at 45) posted a message about the struggle continuing.  The fact that Scotland and England have been united for more than three hundred years and United States civil war ended in 1865, a mere 149 years ago, seemed to be lost on him. It didn't seem to occur to him that what was happening in Great Britain would be like Virginia telling the United States that they wish to be an independent country. The desire, at times, may be understandable but not always practical or good for the country when you consider the entirety of its history.

They say the desire for independence has been a generational one and I think that that may be true.  They reason, that if that is the case, then the days of Scotland and England remaining united are numbered. But I think all generations are divided between those that look forward to the future with hope and those that look back with pride and maybe a little sadness too.  Will each generation find a reason to say, "Yes, I understand the desire to be independent, but when I look back and see that all we have done together, aren't we better together."

We also must consider the fact that this is not the case of an oppressive regime.  Mary Queen of Scots, on the advice of her court, swore to a peaceful union in the 1560's.  The early 1700's saw Scotland and England being ruled by one monarch.  That is the date that is given as unification.  So the Scots and British have been living in harmony for quite some time now.

So I am little confused by #thestrugglecontinues and wish that we could find a way to discuss matters of politics in the same way parents might exchange advice on potting training. With the understanding that each situation is unique and different. We could talk without it sounding like a battle cry. This week the leader of the "yes" vote (Alex Salmond) made the mistake of calling them "Team Scotland".  What does that make the "no" vote. They are Scots too. That term is divisive and exclusionary and never helpful in reconciliation.

Finally, what is democracy if after an election the entire nation cannot live with the results?  We have seen it happen here in the United States.  If you don't like the results - sue them!  The bedrock of democracy should be that the whole protects the individual rights of the whole.  But the individual respects the majority will of the whole.

I am not sure that I will ever be sure how I feel about the outcome.  Maybe history will simply see this as a generation's desire to make its mark, to show they wished to forge their own path and many of them believed they had the strength to do it. Surely that is worth celebrating no matter the outcome.

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