Europe and the United States represent two entirely different free, Western cultures, running under their own ideological ideas regarding the way best to run their countries and the continents upon which they sit.
While each are comprised of a number of semi-autonomous entities under a larger unifying umbrella, whether via states and territories of the United States, or via individual countries within Europe, the continent — or, in more recent times, under the aegis of the European Union — both have operated with a capitalistic market economy and a free and open society.
Europe has transitioned from previous feudal rule under monarchy to tyranny, under dictatorship, and fascism/socialism/communistic idealogies of communally-shared societies; all of these have mostly failed. The only successful ruling model has been the democratic/republic ideal, whether more in the European Parliamentary style, or in the great vision developed by the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, who left the European model behind to form their own. And it has been the greatest success story in history.
Both Europe and America in the modern era have tolerant, open societies, representing a diverse population of ethnic cultures living together. In these open societies, they have been welcoming (comparative to other nations) and open to all, with growth from earlier days when they were somewhat prejudiced in attitude toward others; but, then again, certainly not any more so than other nations, and definitely, now being some of the most open societies in the world.
Both the U.S. and Europe are absorptive to people from many lands and cultures. Both celebrate their diverse populations in different ways. As a melting pot, the U.S. has one of the most celebrated and diverse ethnicities in the populace of all nations. While we’ve had our shameful periods of slavery, and oppression of women and minorities in the system, we have learned and grown from the experience and our mistakes.
Europe celebrates its diversity among its countries, but also, more so, by diversity of its various countries. This is what has made it interesting, unique, and varied across the continent. Each region has had its own flavor via its national outlooks, people, manner of rule, cultures and ethnicities. It is these distinct separations which have, improbably, kept Europe diverse, through celebrating its own regional character. By becoming homogenous through the European Union, it tears away these flavors of diversity and turns them into a bland, voiceless entity.
What happens when a nation, such as Turkey, for instance, takes over as head of such an entity? Turkey is, at present, slipping into an Islamic extremist position — not something conducive to the freedom and ideals we try to uphold. As head of the European Union for any length of time, it would undermine the democratic ideals we hold dear, if it were to pursue this current trajectory of hewing to these extreme manners.
I’m not giving this opinion as ulterior motive. Europe can, and has, united for economic and military reasons in the past, and can still do so in the future. I think their leverage is weakened as a watered-down single entity, rather than being bolstered by a unified force. The allegory can be compared to what happened in the Arab world. They went from a singular entity to being a loose confederation of some 57 or so countries/nations, each counted as one vote apiece in the world bodies, such as in the halls of the United Nations. More countries, more votes, makes more power of majority. Let’s keep it that way.
Congratulations, England, for leaving the European Union. Your citizenry have stood up to the media pundits trying to shape public opinion, and therefore, policy — and you prove that the talking heads of the media don’t dictate our choices; we do.
Proof In The (Yorkshire) Pudding: Ribald discourse is the grease which oils the sticky cogs of the gears of political debate and drives its subsequent activism. No greater are the principles of free speech exercised than in the halls of British Parliament nor within the pages of the daily press. This tenet of freedom of political expression of opinion extends to encompass individual human rights, when paired with oversight abilities enshrined in governmental institutions, created to uphold the laws of its people. Watch one episode of a session of Parliament in action, and you’re liable to hear a cacophany of intermingled jibes, ripostes and repasts.
It’s the same in the United States, except that our own sessions seem more orderly; indeed, they are highly-regulated affairs with strict rules regarding reading of bills, presentation, commentary, and the like. There are time limitations, sequential ordering and other organizational edicts funneling preparatory discussions toward the culmination of passage or rejection of an Act or Bill through its final vote.
It’s ironic that America seems to present the more-orderly facade of process relative to the nation parent who gave birth to its formation, when such wayward children as found in its overseas colonies rejected taxation by Great Britain sans representation regarding its wellbeing and separate needs. Thus sprung forth the Boston Tea Party, called such when Massachusetts activists, fed-up with successive taxation, dumped massive quantities of tea into the Atlantic ocean in a show of rebellion against payment of taxes benefitting a distant land, rather than directly applied closer to home. Thus, the wars, fought in its harbors and across its colonies, resulted in a win for American independence and our concurrent freedom.
The Founding Fathers, drawing up the Constitution for the United States of America, (and with the addition of its further Amendments), recognized and granted several basic rights to its citizens under her jurisdiction. These were individual rights, chief among them being freedom of speech, the right to assembly, and that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion…”.
Voting is a way to reach agreed-upon consensus as its method, giving either individuals, or those acting as their representatives, the power to express their opinions on issues affecting a larger society — whether at the local, regional, or national levels. This is what happened with the recent decision, put to referendum in a public vote sweeping Britain to its exit from the greater European Union, comprised of the signatory member countries which were sovereign entities spread over the European landscape.
Some people had been happy when the countries of Europe undertook this endeavor to collaborate; I, myself, thought it a bad idea. So, there were many who were dismayed at its implementation and sensed the feeling of despair. The pendulum has swung back, and now the former exult, while the unification idealists now get to experience these similar reactions.
The reports from the results of the referendum vote were awaited with bated breath. A website I perused, using graphics from the Financial Times, showed regional results on this subject, listing the votes of North Ireland, Scotland, and London as “Remain”; the remainder, voting “Leave” (from the European Union) are listed thus: West Midlands; East Midlands; York and Humber; Northwest England; Southeast England; Southwest England; and Wales. All contain a common element: the majority composition of the group voting to exit the E.U. come from the United Kingdom country of England. They are the ones responsible for tipping the vote by over one million people toward the end vote of exiting.
It’s true that the coupling and uncoupling, the war victors and its losers, the collaborations and severed partnerships of the varied people, countries, tribes and affiliations throughout the history of Europe and its lands has been both consumptive and contrarily confusing. New words and terms, such as “European Union”, need to be coined to describe the new realities created during these ventures. In doing so, there can be a battle of the mind, a war of words, in steering its dialogue (more to be said on this, as is my intent, under separate cover, at a later date). Anthropologists help to frame these so-called arguments.
My post above was not an argument, of sorts, on the merits of participation in the European Union, although I touch on a few aspects of its consideration within the larger body of my posting. It, rather, is an expression of my opinion, coinciding with the vote of those in the United Kingdom, sharing similar views. I congratulated them for, what I thought, was a good choice. Sending my affirmation to “England”, mentioned singularly and repeated in its title, does go out to the whole of its confederate parties, although there might be many people who feel not quite-so amenably enclined, just at present, to readily accept and let sink-in this newest reality.
That’s okay. That’s what makes for engaging democracy. That is why commentary has also been posted, expressing incredulity at my right to hold such matters as my personal freedom of opinion, now questioned. I think opinion, no matter how-formed, is an incontestible matter beholden to each individual. “England”, as I termed it, was actually the correct word choice, in my humble opinion, for it was the eligible voters in the noted regions in England (confirmed) who voted the majority result. To have wished congratulations to the United Kingdom, overarching, would, in some manners, have been factually incorrect, when other of its participants voted against this measure. And it might’ve driven the bee under the bonnet at a time when those who feel its losses most need no further encouragement. I forthwith apologize personally for the confusion of classification regarding this entity– past, present, and now, future.
Consolation? Yes. As I put forth, I can understand your feelings. Understandably they are strong right now, due to the magnitude of the decision. I still feel it’s the right one which has been made. And, as it worked out, so, in the end, was mine.
Salmon, Felix. “With A Single Vote, England Just Screwed Us All”; Fusion Media Network, LLC, June 24, 2016 (secondary source to which, see below):
As derived from its primary source, which see: “Which Regions Swung the Vote?: How Different Areas Affected the Outcome” (Graphic): THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD 2016; Financial Times, June 25, 2016 (updated); accessed June 25, 2016):
Update: Here’s an article in better words, with better explanations:
Sheyin-Stevens, Dr. Aviel. “Reaffirming Democracy: The U.K. as a Model”. Israel National News.com; July 5, 2016: