I’ve been averse to posting anything remotely political for a while. Who wouldn’t? Unless they want an e-argument. Which is invariably what they get.
On both sides of the Atlantic, landmark, unprecendented decisions have been made by the voting public (and in all cases one ponders on how much of a difference the non-voting public might have made to the very close outcomes…).
I’m pretty sure of my choice in both votes – one I could vote in and one I couldn’t. My stance has never waivered, and even when trying to educate myself more to try and understand, what I’ve seen, learned, read, understood, has only strengthened my original instinct.
However, to even think of bringing up the subject, to give my opinion or to ask for others, is an idea that borders on insanity…I face getting derided, called names (many of which I had to look up the meaning of and I’d definitely disagree with their application to me) or have ‘facts’ and ‘links’ thrown in my face and when the same is used to respond they are ignored.
What never seems to happen is a conversation where someone on, say, Side ‘Apple’, asks simple questions in an effort to understand, and someone on Side ‘Orange’ responds, politely, clearly, consisely, and explains in simple terms *their* understanding of their side and their beliefs and why they voted for Oranges; followed by a simple question as to why the other person voted for Apples, before being given the same response.
What invariably happens, is BIG numbers and BIG claims are practically thrown in the faces of the oponents; along with derisive comments and petty, childish name-calling. Links to websites supporting their view (because, of course, it’s written by someone who holds the same view, and pretty much anyone can write anything they want on a website that they can make look as official as they like these days…) .
Invariably (I know, because I do this too…), people of opposing views automatically raise their defenses when a post/comment is clear to be a political statement supporting ‘the other side’ and so people attack. What I’m trying to learn to do is a) ignore, walk away completely. Sometimes I fail at that and what I’m doing more often, instead of diving in straight away with a rude, obnoxious, defensive response, is b)not responding straight away, but rereading the ‘offending’ post in an effort to understand before politely formulating a reasoned reply. Although, it rarely, if ever, has the effect I hope it will. But then, the original post I’m responding to was posted probably in the hope of persuading the opposition, but doesn’t end up having that effect either.
So it’s almost impossible to ask simple question like “Please help me understand” and get straight, kind, helpful answers. Even when you do indicate some article or site or research to support your view, there is an argument ‘they’ can thrown back at you.
And so…here is where I jump from the neutral fence above…
Case in point… I’ve lived all over the world. Going into a general store or supermarket is a very different experience in different countries. It’s very very obvious, to anyone, even if you’ve only ever been abroad to go on holiday to the Med and tried to buy a bag of crisps and a drink in Spain, that different brands take pride of place on shelves, different emphasis is put on the freshness of fruit, veg, bread (equally, how much ‘fresh’ produce is available compared to packaged, processed stuff on shelves; differs globally).
I emigrated from the UK to New Zealand – plentiful fresh produce, fruit, veg, seafood, outdoorsy life, abounded. After a few years, regretably, we moved from there to The Bahamas (via an extended USA roadtrip). The Bahamas main source of income is offshore financial services (ironically, dealing with banks there as a regular customer who’s not investing billions in them is a nightmare…but that’s another post), and Tourism. They don’t produce much. Not like the old days of cotton and sugar plantations. There’s fresh seafood, available from the quayside daily if you know where to go. Apart from that, everything’s imported from the USA. Very little is fresh; and what is fresh, seems too large and shiny and unblemished to be ‘real’ (i.e. grown using every genetic modification and chemical pesticide and ‘plant food’ available, in order to make them bigger, more attractive, last longer?). We almost moved to the USA after the Bahamas. My main worry was, being a parent by this time, to children born in New Zealand and therefore began with clean, helthy lifestyle and organic, natural diets; what choices would I have, if buying from regular USA outlets…conglomorate supermarkets force-feeding all that pre-packaged marketing to the children? They’d be starting school…they’d be fed goodness-knows what ingredients in school lunches or be asking for peer-pressure frankenfoods in bright, character-endorsed individual wrappers for their lunchboxes? I began to research organic farmers markets available in the region we could possibly live in; and mass-produced “foods” in general consumed in the USA. I came across research regarding ‘foods’ that were approved by the FDA but that were banned elsewhere. (FDA, Food & Drug Administration, is US equivalent to Food Standards Agency) I was suddenly scared of the US food chain and feared that no matter what I did to avoid introducing certin things to our family diet, we’d end up being exposed to it anyway. (I say ‘suddenly’, although I’d already suspected from years and years of watching America and having traveled there and elsewhere extensively, that their idea of ‘food’ was a little less stringent than the rest of us. In 1999 I was a Summer Camp Counselor and discovered…squirty cheese in can!!!!). If it was just me, I would be more adventurous, but since having my own children, I worry more. I worry on all sides. I worry I am inadvertantly causing them harm, risking losing them to some form of cancer from carcinogens; or in and even longer term, risking causing infertility, low sperm counts, killing off my family line in generations to come from tiny, undetecable changes we have inadvertantly ingested generations before. I could go on but then we’d be delving into the realm of crazy conspiracy-theorists predicting population control by genetics…but such is the crazy and worrysome nature of a caring parent…
OK so we already risked that given that most of what we were eating in the Bahamas was brought in from the USA anyway, but it certainly made moving to the USA the least enticing option – quite scary in fact. I was very glad to end up coming back to the UK, given that all I’d read against the FDA’s choices had shown me that EU regulators and scientists seemed to be on the right track. However, to put that link to articles about the FDA approved banned foods into an argument with anyone about how I wouldn’t really want to be trading foodstuffs with the USA because I wouldn’t want anything they’re selling; the opposing side could now argue that one of the most recognisable articles on that list is from ABC news … now deemed by the US President to be a pruveyor of ‘Fake News‘.
And now look where we are…There’s still things I don’t understand, but to bring them up with someone who voted opposite me simply results in derision and dissmissiveness.
I still don’t understand how trade deals with ‘other countries’ outside the EU are any better than trading in the EU…the USA, for example – there’s nothing they could sell us that I can see myself wanting to buy/be available over here…lower food-standards in food production so less desirable, less healthy produce? More McDonalds & Starbucks? More branding and marketing? (I already know people who aren’t aware that many many fairytales and myths and ledgends were actually written centuries ago and existed in a far purer form before Disney got his hands on them…); I don’t understand how a trade-deal with the US can be anything like as beneficial for us as it would be for them.
I don’t understand how trading with countries further away than the European nations right next to us can be beneficial, if we want to purchase foods & goods that can’t be produced here (and lets face it, most of what we actally need, can be…otherwise how did we survive before imports?), why would we choose ones with a higher carbon footprint…import them from further away and increase the need for shipping, cargo flights. But, in answering my own question, that argument can’t be used in a trade-deal with Trump, right? Because a carbon-footprint would be a non-entity in that particular deal…
I don’t understand how ‘sovereignty’ is an argument – The British Empire wasn’t built by the Britain we are now, in the world in which we now live in. The British Empire, like Empires before it thoughout history, was built by being a stronger nation with a bigger army and more money and resources and being better educated, taking over by persuasion or else by force, empty lands or smaller, less advanced nations who put up little fight. As soon as those nations (now known as the Commonwealth) could fend for themselves and stand on their own feet, they more often than not chose self-rule and/or fought back against being ruled by Britain.
And I don’t understand the arguments I’ve heard about immigrants – not being part of the EU won’t stop Illegal Immigrants…they are, by their definitiaion, ILLEGAL. Most of the arguments I’ve heard against immigrants come from regions where the only immigrants encountered are running the corner shop, or the takeaway, or the cleaning company (running useful services that are kept in business by a greatful community?) I briefly compared a map of diversity in the UK and a map of how areas voted in the EU referendum and it seemed to me to indicate that regions who *don’t* feel threatened by immigrants are the most multi-cultural (case in point…London with all her diversity, supports immigration…countrified regions where there is little diversity in ethnicity, would prefer more restrictions on immigration?).
I don’t understand how EVERYONE who disagrees with either Brexit or Trump are ‘Left’ ‘Liberal’ ‘Snowflakes’ … I can’t see how I’d be ‘on the left’ of anything, when I’ve always been quite open-minded and not really political anyway, but might be branded as such for voting leave or disliking Trump. However, as a ‘lefty’, would I not be then opposed to all things monarchy? Including however many k per day they cost or how much ‘we’ are giving them to fix ‘their house’… it seems fairly obvious to me that yes, they bring in a lot of tourism and are a unique symbol of Britishness; and while on the subject of the monarchy…and I’d much prefer to people-watch the members of the Royal family who actually have some claim to it, than the likes of the Kardashians and others…
I don’t understand how people moan about how much money is ‘given’ to the monarchy for maintenance of Buckingham Palace, for example…that money doesn’t suddenly ‘disappear’… It will be PAID to workers and tradesmen and suppliers, who will then in turn go home and use it to feed and clothe and house and maybe even treat their families and therefore pump the wages they’ve earned back in to the same economy, paying the wages of Supermarket checkout people, farmers, clothing suppliers, house builders, paying their council taxes and for trips to seaside resorts like Margate and Blackpool, or to holiday firms paying pilots and cabin crew and airport workers to take them to a holiday destination.
There are quite a few other things I don’t understand, even after experiencing so much of life and traveling so far; but I think I’ve gone on long enough!
I didn’t write this to get responses. I didn’t write this to get into arguments over points. The votes have been cast and acted upon so there’s little point really; I just don’t understand why Discussion doesn’t exist anymore, nor does helping someone to understand, and that everything has to end up in forceful debate and downright arguments, and rude name calling.
Now, it’s pouring with rain today. I love the rain. I can hear a bird singing in the garden. I might just end up outside raking my garden ready for my new veggie patch…
Enjoy the world, everyone; and be kind to each other xxx