There are stories that are true, in which each individual’s tale is unique and tragic, and the worst of the tragedy is that we have heard it before, and we cannot allow ourselves to feel it too deeply. We build a shell around it like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit, coating with smooth pearl layers in order to cope. This is how we walk and talk and function, day in, day out, immune to others’ pain and loss. If it were to touch us it would cripple us or make saints of us; but, for the most part, it does not touch us. We cannot allow it to.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods
I awoke this morning to a nightmare that I thought was nigh impossible and really doesn’t (or, so far, doesn’t seem to) have any effect on me. Yet, I feel compelled to address it because I’m concerned that this same nightmare might become a reality in my own part of the world. But, it is my belief that the so called “Brexit” is the succumbing of yet another country to the notion of “other” being incompatible with “us.” I can only imagine what this must feel like to immigrants in Great Britain, to expats living in the European Union, to people who felt like this was not in the realm of possibilities.
Our own president, Franklin Roosevelt, once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This is what fear looks like and we should very much fear it, because it is tearing apart the social fabric of global unity. Regardless of what your views on religion, or politics, or economics are, the notions of borders and “us and them” are divisive and unnecessary. A particular presumptive nominee in the United States continues to stoke the fires of this racist bigotry and is now exalting the results of the EU referendum as a pattern that the USA should follow in some fashion as it careens toward the November election.
Humanity is a collective organism. We all exist on the same plane and need to work together to ensure our own survival. Unfortunately, nothing that I’ve seen of late leads me to believe that we’re aware of that. We seem to be oblivious to each other and maybe we are doing that in order to function on a daily basis. It is entirely plausible that a crippling awareness of humanity on a global scale would be our undoing. However, I feel like we need to face that fear; stare it down back into its deep, dark cavern. Humans need to cross imaginary borders, both geopolitical ones and emotional ones, in order to create a world where fear has no sway. If you are with me on this, I want to recruit you to join with me in creating a world without fear. If you are against me on this, I’m not going to stop preaching about the need to band together as one, so at least keep listening even if you disagree. It’s for the good of humanity, it really is.