Make Way for Change, Scotland: A Canadian’s Reflection on the Referendum Vote

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“Maybe it’s the trip up the mountain and not the view from the top. Is it the learning and testing and not the graduation? Is it the act of getting hurt and not the state of being healed that takes us to that other state of enlightenment known as true happiness?”

These are words I wrote a while ago in an article titled “Compassion Alchemy.” And I ponder them again today in the aftermath of the Scottish Referendum vote. Many titles you read will describe the whole thing as a failure. They will say “the failed referendum vote” for years and years.

In the end, in the wee hours of the morning here in Ontario, the decision finally came in as a NO. This morning I watched as David Cameron, PM of Britain declared the vote a “clear result” to remain a United Kingdom. The final vote was 55% to stay united; 45% to split. In my humble opinion, 5% does not a clear pass make. I mean, I remember getting 55% in grade 12 Mathematics, and it did not feel like a clear result of me knowing anything about Math! But a win is a win I guess.

The scenes on the tv were hard to watch, as I did want Scotland to know the feeling of being her own great and independent Country. But my disappointment turned to interest as I watched the tears streaming from one young man’s face. He wiped them with his baseball cap before jamming it on his head backwards and hugging his friend beside him. This guy, who was likely all of 25, was exultant to the point of tears because his fellow countrymen and women voted to stay one United Kingdom with Britain and part of Ireland. His tears changed my perspective. They gave me a new colour to add to my palette. That kind of pride~ however counter to my own view~was enough to make me re-think my position.

I am a idealist to a fault. When I think of my own Country’s next Election and imagine the outcome being anywhere close to this voter turnout, my eyes well up. It’s odd really, since numbers have never evoked emotion in me, but these numbers are profound. This referendum vote pulled 97% of the eligible voters out to polling booths to have their say. Amazing! That’s almost 4.1 million people. And they did it in one day.

Yet … today is not the day after the wedding or the divorce. I remember both of those days, talk about a let-down! All of that preparation for nothing. I couldn’t help but read those thoughts in the eyes of the crushed YES campaigners on the CBC this morning. But was all that work for naught? Or is it the campaigning and not the final vote that makes this all so inspiring and oh so relevant?

I remember the first time I had a far-away friend over to my small town. I showed her the sites~ few as they are in wee Westport~ and with each site, I felt more and more pride growing. Until that day, I had taken Foley Mountain for granted along with the magnificent view she holds. Sometimes even the proudest of us need a reason to boast about our roots and the soil from which they grow.

For the past two years, YES campaigners have been working together, growing together, learning together and boasting about their Country’s greatness together. In words paraphrasing the statement of a great man named Victor Hugo, “nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.” What time is that you ask? Surely not time for separation, as democracy has indeed spoken. No, it’s time to take back the word Pride and shake off all negative and derogatory connotations that religions and royalties have laced it with. Pride is no longer sinful; pride is necessary! Pride is the spark that lights the fire that demands respect and equality for all. All the everybodies in every single country on our planet.

I’ve always been a proud Canadian, but the year we hosted the Winter Olympics really re-ignited that spark inside of me. As I watch more recent Olympics, I’ve noticed that the Pride these Olympians feel is almost tangible, worn on their sleeves. It is within that Pride that we will Unite in mutual respect for one another all across this planet. So I eagerly await other referendums in other countries that will undoubtedly be instigated by this wonderful exercise in Democracy.

The CBC had a journalist asking Brits what they thought of the NO decision. One girl said she really wasn’t sure what she’d wake up to this morning. But she was very relieved with the decision. She says,

“We heart Scotland.”

View the original post over at The Couch Activist blog here.

For previous Couch Activist articles published here at Ladybud, click here.

Photo Credit: By Amanda Slater from Coventry, England under [CC-BY-SA-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons