Why I'm Standing Behind My Stronger In The EU Status
Disaster strikes. Que the thousands of British citizens who believe that changing their Facebook profile pictures with a fallen star from the EU flag will make a difference following the result of the referendum. Believe me, I get that honest (albeit cynical) perspective. What difference is a post, a tweet, a two-second picture hashtag truly going to make? The answer is nothing.
Nothing but awareness. Your EU post reaches your 1,000 Facebook friends who repost and share with their 1,000 Facebook friends, and suddenly the town, the city, the nation, knows about what is happening in a different country. Suddenly there are thousands of voices speaking positive thoughts. Suddenly there are thousands of prayers lifted. No, that might not be a physical, tangible difference. But for people across the world, this is a start.
When social media takes control of a major social issue, shit always seems to hit the fan. I wrote about this back in 2014 with the same-sex marriage legislation. When the new legislation passed on December 16th, suddenly, out of the woodworks, were hundreds of people who supported gay and lesbian marriage. They changed their Facebook photos. They proudly stated, “I’m so happy!” and “Today is a day in history!” and two seconds later they were back to their normal lives, keeping away from any real conflict or issues surrounding the huge change.
I’ll admit it, back then I was a cynic. I was pissed that people could so easily support something they hadn’t for the last months, years even. It frustrated me that people believed they were making a difference, taking a stand, when all they’d done was change the colours of their picture.
But as I think about the referendum result this past weekend, and the news about the result that spread through social media like fire…I have to admit…tweets, posts, and fallen star pictures do make a difference. Because everyone on my news feed has a opinion. Because #Brexit has covered almost every social media outlet. And because, when I asked my little cousins about the EU result, they say, “Oh, didn't Scotland vote against that?” The world now knows, regardless of how.
So what are the steps of change? Here we are—thousands and millions of people with pictures of the EU flag and silent prayers in our heads—what physical difference do we make? We are a start. We are an epidemic. We are a social media disease that spreads and travels to people, young and old, country to country, continent to continent.
I’m standing behind my post, despite the stupidity. Despite everyone poking fun at the 'politics experts' suddenly coming out of the dark. Despite the fact that my post doesn’t physically change lives. It can't change the result. Despite the fact that people who see it might only be compelled to retweet/repost it, and not actually do something. I still stand behind it. I stand behind the message it gives. The message of unity between people, between nations. It's not that I'm not accepting the wishes of the majority, but simply stating I disagreed with it.
In history when we examine sources we believe it's incredibly important to look at primary sources. To read what people wrote and said at the time. These facebook statuses and tweets might not change a thing, but they are crucial for future historians. Thousands of first hand accounts of what we believe right now, in this moment and why we believe it. I'm sanding by my status, and I wanted to go a little further and share it with you.
Amongst all the jokes that all of sudden everyone on Facebook is an expert on politics, I am writing this more for the benefit of my friends elsewhere in the world; who asked what I thought (& who after lots of cap-locks and crying emojis no doubt regretted that decision :P).
Today, the United Kingdom made history by being the first country to vote to leave the European Union. Personally, I believe we have made a horrible mistake, one that is irreversible, and one that I have no doubt that people will regret for many years to come. In Scotland we majority voted to stay in the EU. This is prompting calls for a second independence referendum, because we are being taken out of the EU even though as a country we didn't actually vote for it. I was against independence as you'll probably remember, but now I'm not so sure of how I feel about it, and I worry that this is a sentiment shared by a lot of people. I worry that my country will now make another massive decision to break away on the back of this one. I feel like emotionally we will chose to cut ties, which I still don't think is the best decision.
I will always believe that we are better and stronger together than we could ever be apart. Instead of changing the voting system, a system that means the views of one larger country can overrule those of three smaller ones; or implementing a requirement that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% there should be another referendum (something I feel should have been implemented) I think it is now a certainty that Scotland will soon no longer be a part of Britain. Of a united kingdom that is anything but united. With a vote of 51.9% to 48.1%, and two countries voting to stay and two to leave, this nation of ours is completely divided. If the UK had unanimously voted to leave maybe I would feel differently, but if we cannot agree with each other on a decision this important and life changing, I’m not sure we have the strength and unity needed to make it alone. I am disappointed. I am sad. And I am hoping and praying with everything in me tonight that this works. That against all odds, this turns out a whole lot better than it looks set to.