Friday, June 24, 2016

I Voted to Remain in the EU, But I Respect that You Did Not

Yesterday, I voted for the UK to remain in the European Union. I believed, as an immigrant of the world, that immigration was a good thing, that it strengthened nations and created diversity where diversity had been lacking. In fact, even in the aftermath of what was a quite sobering defeat to the Leave campaign last night, I'm still convinced of these things.

I also believe that nations are stronger when they work together, as evidenced by the significant decrease in continental warfare since the Second World War. In that time, the expansion of European trade has instilled a nation-to-nation togetherness virtually unprecedented in the continent's long and often bloody history. On this dayFriday the 24th of June, 2016I fear a move away from Europe has the very real potential to render our wider neighborhood a fractured and uncertain place.

Right across the board I have strong feelings on this historic decision and believe with all my heart that we have, as a nation, made the wrong choice.

With all that said, I respect that you voted to leave the European Union. 

It isyou understand—a thing of great difficulty to type a sentence such as that in an increasingly attack-minded world such as this. We have become so accustomed to meeting opposite beliefs with angry retorts and snide remarks. We have forgotten—as my friend Michael recently noted—how to disagree. So, yes, it took every ounce of humility for my fingers to type those words. But somebody had to type them. Because the truth is, while I have yet to be convinced by arguments in favor of the UK's disengagement from the EU or by Nigel Farage's insistence that his motives are not enveloped in bigotry, I am even less convinced that driving a further wedge between members of an already divided nation is a good plan.

After all, it would be hypocritical of me to talk up the benefits of a European community without doing the same for a potential British community—one that fosters mutual understanding and/or respectful disagreement. In the weeks and months ahead, amid what will be a time of profound uncertainty across the United Kingdom—especially in light of breaking news that David Cameron will resign as Prime Ministerit will probably be more essential than ever to hold back on those angry retorts and snide remarks and learn, once more, how to disagree. 

Because, when all is said and done, you won. Democracy has spoken. The UK is withdrawing from the European Union and those of us who voted to remain must learn now to accept these unfolding developments.

Afterall, in the words of Jo Cox—the Labour MP and Remain advocate who was murdered last week—"we have far more in common with each other than things that divide us." I have to believe she was right. I have to.

Sometimes, it's better hearing me in a British accent. Click the red button below.


Laurence Brown is a British man writing his way through the truly bizarre world of America - a place he sometimes accidentally calls home and a place he still hasn't quite figured out after seven years. Thankfully, his journey is made 12% easier by the fact that his accent makes him sound much smarter than he is. For evidence of this, subscribe to his popular Lost in the Pond web series over on YouTube.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said Laurence. Now if you could just line your spare room with cash, we'll be right over to stay with you! Actually, of course I jest. But you are so right about the uncertainty we face and the need to not rend ourselves asunder because we hold different viewpoints. That's between each other and not a veiled reference to Scotland seeking independence again. I'm English, and I plan on staying here for good or ill, and hope that the, currently seemingly optimistic, view that we will continue to thrive, albeit not as part of a Greater European state will prevail. I'll be here doing my darnedest to try and make sure that happens.
Ian Park, Yorkshire, currently United Kingdom.

Laurence Brown said...

Thanks for your insight back across the Pond, Ian. I just hope things work out for the best.

J-Me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J-Me said...

I removed my other comment, because I felt it was flippant and didn't reflect the serious nature of what Britain has gone through, and is going through due to the referendum. I commend your humility and honesty. Leaving the EU is certainly a double edged sword. Let's hope (and pray, if you're so inclined) that everything works out for the best.

Anonymous said...

I am also a Brit living here in the USA, I and all of my family (who still reside in the UK) voted to leave, however if the vote had gone the other way we would not have been demonstrating on the streets or demanding another referendum or calling the remain people Racists,bigots and stupid, we would have accepted the result with dignity, respect and we would have quietly moved on. I do admire the fact that you have not gone on a rant about the UK disappearing of the face of the planet!

Anonymous said...

In the video link below, American commentator Van Jones presents a diplomatic, nonjudgmental and deft analysis that explains both sides of the Brexit issue in a nonpartisan manner to increase understanding and build bridges. [LOL]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seYE0nfl8so

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