Can We Please Be Friends?

 It may have been complacency, but I really didn’t think we were going to leave the EU yesterday morning. I had been predicting results based upon my Facebook feed, unaware that I lived in quite such a London liberal bubble.

I have felt the initial fear, the anxiety and worry and sense of unknowingness. I shed a tear. I have read many commentaries that have said it all much better than I could – the economic crisis that is likely to come, the fact that misguided leave voters are likely to be the ones to suffer, the subliminal message that we are sending to Europeans; that we are sovereign and they are not welcome. The fact that Marie Le Pen and Donald Trump are the main congratulating forces only serves to compound the fact that the nation seems to have voted for the dark side.

I have shared in the responses and the self-expressions of dismay. At least the anger and upset remind me that people care.

But, it is now 24 hours later, and a new trend is appearing - the demonising of those who have voted differently to us. They are stupid, they are ignorant, they are racist bigots. All of which may be true of some. But they also may not of others. One sole voice who expressed happiness at the result on my Facebook was called a c***. Isn't that trolling?

From within our London liberal bubble, it seems very easy to judge those who have may have voted differently. But doesn't that exacerbate the division that we are currently deriding? Shouldn't we really be empathising with those who feel so alienated and angry that a 'leave' vote was really considered the best solution? Their vote may have been misinformed, but an emotionally-charged vote would have had motivations nonetheless. Shouldn't we be engaging with people of differing opinions to try and make the best of a bad situation for us all? Can we really claim to be 'better' than them? Are we not just different individuals in different circumstances?

24 hours later and life will go on. How are we going to come together to try and resolve the most uncertain or future? One option is condemnation and ridicule. The other is openness and listening. I vote the latter - they're the values upon which I voted 'in' in the first place.

I can't really say it better than Brendan Cox, husband of Jo, who tweeted in the early hours of yesterday morning:

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