Are you in my Tribe?
Before the Brexit vote, I spent several months trying to decide what was for the best. On balance, I decided that Remaining in the EU would be better.
But then a weird thing happened.
The nuanced decision that I had struggled to make suddenly became a certainty and Remainers became my “tribe”. Almost overnight I found myself an advocate for a cause I had only narrowly decided in favour of.
My uncertainties (and there were many) were brushed aside and my educated guess became “solid foundations”.
‘The side of the angels’
The narrowness of the national vote in the referendum and the prolonged attempts to negotiate, made me feel that victory could perhaps be snatched from the jaws of defeat. I felt my tribe could “win”.
The unexpected surge in racial abuse following the vote merely confirmed that my “tribe” were on the side of the angels.
I listened in horror as thoughtful and diligent MP’s who were in my tribe were described as traitors. I watched bemused as MP’s who wanted the country to have a second referendum to confirm the vote were branded “undemocratic”.
When my tribe was outraged, I was outraged.
When my tribe won tactical victories we were principled campaigners. When the other tribe won tactical victories they were devious and manipulative. I was quick to ascribe noble motives to my tribe and equally quick to ascribe dark motives to “them”.
Everyday now I read prolonged discussions and arguments on Facebook, and despite all the heat, not a single person is changing their views.
I think we have had enough of all this.
I don’t want to be part of a tribe, I want to be part of a community.
The reality is NONE of us can predict the future. Not anyone.
Nobody really knows what the social or economic effect of exiting the EU will be in the short term. And the long term is utterly impossible to predict.
But equally, nobody knows what social or political effects of overturning the vote would be. Who knows what will happen to the EU in the years to come?
Over the last 3 years I have seen too many angry arguments about Brexit on social media. These have endangered relationships and damaged a community that I cherish.
But I refuse to let my “best guess” from three years ago acquire a significance that it doesn’t deserve. My friends, my family and my neighbours are priceless.
And so are yours.
It time to leave our tribes and re-join our community.
Julian Dale is a youth and family social worker at All Saints Church in Eastbourne