Divided society

It’s been a long time since my last post. So long that, when I wrote it, I had no idea I would soon be living in a country that was torn almost exactly in two. I am talking about the EU referendum, which seems to have split the country not only in votes, but in emotions.

It has caused discord even among families and friends. Racists who were previously unknown have decided that a vote “out” somehow legitimises their feelings and have started pouring out more abuse. Others now think that anyone who voted out MUST be a racist. Young adults are angry with older generations, feeling that they have been personally attacked and that their bright futures have been torn away.

All this shows a worrying lack of consideration, and imagination. Can we not conceive a way forward that is different? Can we not deal with adversity? This country has, in the last hundred years alone, got through two world wars, not unscathed of course, but with much to be proud of.

And before that? Plenty of turmoil, wars and invasions, even civil war, which is what the current situation reminds me of. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a strong leader? Maybe another Churchill? Someone with a steady manner and broad shoulders to take on our troubles?

But we shouldn’t wait for someone else to be the hero. We can all do our bit! “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (JF Kennedy)

I know that likening the current situation to a world war is not quite right. I confess there are many differences, and I don’t wish to be offensive. Even WWII, which is now famous for how it brought British people together, caused its own divisions; not everyone wanted to fight and be responsible for taking lives. But, I do believe that the overriding spirit of the time, the idea that we would face the enemy together, was what kept men, women and children getting out of bed each morning. There is so much strength in unity.

Everyone should be doing their bit, to shape a positive, supportive society. What is the use of name-calling? What is the point of moaning and blaming other people? We are here, we live by the same rules, we put our faith in democracy because it is better than dictatorship.

Regardless of whether we leave or stay within the EU, I don’t want us to be divided by anger. I don’t want Scotland, or Wales, or London, or Europe to feel that we are not friends, that we are not worthy of their loyalty.

My readers who are also fellow Aspies will know what it feels like to be cut off; to be divided from everyone around you. Hopefully, you will also know how good it feels when you finally start to make solid connections. Let us never be so divided again.

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