In case anyone wants to read another opinion on this topic – especially one from an American with no immediate stake in the outcome – continue on. Otherwise I won’t be the least bit insulted if you click onwards…I know it’s all that’s in the news today (smile).
I am an American by birth and have lived here –with the exception of a few months here or there – on U.S. soil all of my life. Admittedly, the first half of my life was dedicated primarily to the dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower, but soon after checking that box I found my heart to be in the UK. I’d visited London by that point, but I got most of my sensory experiences of this isle from literature. In short, I fell in love via letter before I’d even seen the full package. Romantic, right? Since that time I’ve been to all four countries in the UK and Ireland. I’ve not explored every inch of any of them, but enough to get a feel at least. And in the end, of all my prospective loves, Scotland stole my heart – and has yet to release it.
I’ve discussed my love for the country here and there on this blog, but I generally prefer not to make too big of a deal about it. Suffice it to say I have my reasons for not signing each post with an “I ❤ Scotland banner” (smile). What this means is that although I may not speak or write about it often, I follow the happenings of that country perhaps more so than my own, at least on occasion. So, of course, this historic referendum vote today to decide whether Scotland continues as a part of Great Britain or goes its own way has me in a ball of nerves!
Why do I care? Well, I love the people, the culture, the landscape sure. But Scotland also happens to be the only place I’ve ever been where I feel at home. My goal in this life is to live there at some point. Almost all of the life decisions I make lead back to that goal, and the very big decisions those lucky enough to be born there are making today also affect that goal.
Both the American in me and the inherited Scottish pride fully stand behind the “Yes” vote. I totally get it – in principle. I’m just not so sure that I believe it in practice. I’ve read the arguments from both sides (I won’t get in to the number of pages both sides have cast into this world), and I believe the facts point towards a “No” vote being the more successful outcome for all parties. But like so many of our decisions, humans almost always vote with their feelings, facts be damned.
If I wake up tomorrow morning and Scotland is an independent country, I’ve no doubt that they will succeed. Perhaps not in the short term – I just don’t believe it’s all there yet – but certainly in the long term. Even in the worst case scenario, I can’t fathom that the world as a whole would let an entire country go completely under, although I’m sure some suffering may occur. If the country stays with Britain, there will still be much negotiation to be had and relations will change. I have little doubt of that. Perhaps, if not independence, Scotland will have won, at the least, a great deal more respect as a country.
This vote will change so much for so many – Britain, other areas looking for the same choice, businesses, citizens, expats, etc. etc. And I know it could mean great changes in my own personal trajectory yea or nay, but I’m not sure if it would be for better or worse. Only time will tell, and the time for that first big decision grows increasingly short. I sit with the rest of the world in great anticipation. And a secret relief that it’s not my vote to cast.