Sunday, June 19, 2016

BREXIT

Should I stay or should I go?  The UK is in the process of deciding whether to leave the EU or stay.  Being a member has changed their view of themselves as a nation; their identity has been diluted, according to some.  Economic issues, sovereignty issues, political and ideological issues ... and the migrants.

One party supporting Brexit ('Britain's Exit' from the EU) has published the poster (right).

It has been displayed in the media, on billboards, and on the sides of busses, suggesting that refugee immigrants are the last straw in the decision to abandon the EU.  Sound familiar?

Parties opposed to leaving the EU have pointed out the incitement to racial discrimination, segregation, and an abandonment of humanitarian values.  It has even been noted for similarity to Nazi propaganda. The offered arguments are indeed similar and perhaps equally misleading.

The UK discussion on the EU sounds much like the run-up to the election in the states this year.  People here are voting 'with their middle finger', as one southern gentleman has suggested.  And the migrants are an emotional issue. One commentator offers that folks are fed up with 'experts' on economics and politics and with lack of representation.  Exaggerated fear mongering is everywhere.

Times of distress, particularly economic distress, can cloud common thinking on the issues.  The stakes are raised as national impetus for a solution escalates.  In Germany following WWI and the Great Depression, times were hard, and it was a perfect opportunity for popular change.  In retrospect, we see how people lost contact with reality and bought into the promises of the National Socialists.  They blamed their problems on one ethnic minority and became participants in the outcome, a perhaps cautionary reminder.

We have perhaps some choice in the matter, at least in our own thinking.  There is no single decision, no one politician that will resolve all the difficulties and return things to an easier form.

For the record, most difficulties we face today have developed over decades, and are unlikely to be fixed by some knee-jerk popular choice or simple decision.  It's worthwhile to be thoughtful in our choice of leaders and representatives, and we, at least, needn't be fear mongers.

(In the U.S., the fact that neither presidential candidate is particularly appealing is troublesome, but they aren't the only contest being decided on the ballot.)


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