Last word from me on the subject, before I move on to Christmas. And that’s a promise.
A sense of post-voting deja vu has descended.
On the morning of the 24th of June 2016 I woke up to the BBC news ticker ‘UK votes to leave the EU’. I let out a short shriek of joy, threw my arms in the air, laughed, jumped up, laughed a bit more and couldn’t wipe a disbelieving grin off my face all day. In the evening I went online with the intention of sharing my celebratory mood with like minded friends, but I was stopped in my tracks by a deluge of doom and gloom status updates from the other side.
I decided it would be wise to stay silent for now. I kept my happiness to myself. It took me nearly a year before I dared come out as a Leave voter for fear of hurting the other side’s feelings. I never actively lied about which way I’d voted but I let people assume. It was easier that way and it meant avoiding being called a dumb naive idiot and worse by complete strangers online.
Today I feel this recent history repeating itself. The side I backed won again. This time the victory has been emphatic and, please let me say it just once, it felt bloody fantastic!
Still I feel that what is expected of me is to stay silent, again. I feel forced to show restrain in celebrating the election result for fear of hurting the feelings of those who backed the losing parties last week. I feel bullied into silence and restraint by those who wish to claim moral high ground just like they did three years ago. I am not sure I want to oblige this time, because I am really excited about what the future holds.
The sad side of it is that if I make my views known, I run the risk of being blocked, muted, unfriended and deleted by several people I have known for years, only because we hold different political views. Politics divides today like never before in my living memory.
When I first arrived in the UK I didn’t know how the majority of my friends were voting, they might have hinted but that was all. These days people from all sides wear their voting preferences as a badge of honour and use them as a starting point, and in some cases the only criteria whilst assessing another person’s intelligence, compassion, and decency.
Today, instead of white Christmas, I am dreaming of the day when this is no longer the case.