Brexit Or Not, The Genie Is Out Of The Bottle.
Today is the day people. Go vote. Don’t let others sway you. It be called democracy! I’ve unfortunately resigned myself to this country being a radically different one, no matter what the outcome is — and not for the better.
Despite Twitter appearing to be the last safe haven for the sane, in part because I curate who I follow. Those I follow tend to be artists, writers and scientists who by default tend to be liberal. It’s very easy and pleasant to believe they are the majority.
But they aren’t. To gauge the mainstream I head over to the omniscient, blue hued thumb that is Facebook. Facebook has descended into the mainstream media’s portrayal of 4Chan — the wild west of fundamentalism and zealotry. An open platform for hate and prejudice. It has revealed the bubbling undercurrent of racism and bile that this entire damned campaign has set loose. Cheers Cameron.
Nationalism is never a good thing. But here we are, ‘fighting’ for it. Whatever that means in a war-less Britain in 2016.
Again, Facebook is still a platform curated by the user -In this case however, folk I went to school with and worked with. Some share my blood. Many appear to be the not so closeted bigots I always knew them to be, but was too young and ill-prepared to do anything about.
Being a Jew growing up in a post 9/11 environment I heard grotesque things from those around me. Terms thrown around without any regard for the mark they would leave on the impressionable youth that heard them. These vile terms were normalised. Traditionally aimed towards Muslims or those with an Eastern European background. Occasionally as a special treat, I heard the odd N word too. Sad really, considering we ourselves are a mere few generations detached from those that fled atrocities perpetrated by others in the name of Nationalism and pride.
“They’re only joking”, I thought to myself constantly. I cringed, went home and confided in my wonderful parents. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised why they didn’t want to socialise with these people. They were accepting and warm to all that came through the house and have always been this way — so maybe I’ve had my head in the sand all these years.
But the ramp up to today has proven they weren’t joking. No one is joking today. Our country has always had an intrinsic link with racism and it permeates through all of this land’s great communities. Its an unavoidable and sad reality of human nature. Fear of the other. This referendum has just brought it back to the forefront, making it acceptable and releasing a genie that can’t be put back in the bottle. And that is my greatest fear.
I see those same folks I dealt with over a decade ago, spousing illogical and mindless arguments, justifying their hatred. I’ll be accused of saying they’re racists because they voted out, but they’re bigots because they are bigoted. Their parents were. We have fuelled it in the media and created countless boogeymen and now we must pay the price.
It’s a choice I personally don’t feel we should ever have had, but Cameron had to offer something to guarantee office. It’s a decision with implications too vast for a public that has been seasoned with hate and cured with lies. That should be the new Daily Mail subtitle. Boris has expertly crafted a reprehensible, oafish image of Brussels during his time as a journalist, all but guaranteeing the spread of misinformation regarding our Centralised European Overlords (an animated series I’m working on. There are SO many guidelines you wouldn’t believe).
You have a problem when semi-evolved humans state they don’t care for facts or statistics, instead choosing racist memes and nonsensical leaps in logic to justify their decision. “People are sick of experts..”, said Michael Gove, jubilantly. People agreed.
A year ago I feared Europe’s move to the right. I laughed at it occasionally, unable to comprehend the decisions made by educated members of the public. Had they been pushed that far? Why aren’t they taking their own elected officials to ask? I looked inward and realised we were no different.
The cauldron of fear has been bubbling on the surface for a little while now, occasionally stirred by those in power.Whether we stay or go I fear it’s about to boil over. Regardless of your decision today, irreparable damage has been done in the name of national identity.
As we wake up tomorrow, there’ll be something strange in the air. It may smell like sulphur. Like flesh, scalded and twisted inside out.
That cauldron of hate — it’s going to have been spilt, in or out.
I hope there’s enough of our soul left unscalded.
Anyway, I’m off to watch Independence Day Resurgence. Please be good and don’t go breaking something we can’t afford to repair.