As we get ready to celebrate our independence and freedoms here in the United States. I am trying to fully understand the recent, and ironically timed, "Brexit" vote. This is the public vote that resulted in the United Kingdom exiting the European Union.
Martin and I grew up in England, before the UK joined the EU. The furthest we travelled was to the small channel islands that exist half way between England and France. Therefore, as young adults, membership into the EU was an exciting time. It enabled us to experience, first hand, the fun and benefits of what the EU offered. On a superficial level it meant we suddenly had access to affordable French and German wine, olive oil was no longer a luxury and my mother encountered her first green pepper, asking me how she should go about peeling it! Dieppe and mussels were a ferry ride away and Paris and the Pompidou and Musee d'Orsay were an hours flight from Heathrow. We visited Paris several times and saw the architectural creations of Guimard and Galle that, up to that point, just been photos in a book; and we spent hours wandering and absorbing the cultural marvels of this amazing city.
I am not suggesting that the ability to enjoy these things will all suddenly end or that travel will cease; far from it. But the vote does reflect a new inward looking perspective and is clearly a vote against globalization. Don Lee does a very good job of explaining what the vote means in his article for the LA Times. I do understand how those who feel their European representatives are too remote and unaccountable and have not seen their standard of living improve expressed their anger and frustration with a leave vote. But, sadly, I fear that very little will be gained by Britain's departure and indeed much may be lost. Alas, a referendum by its very definition is difficult to reverse so Britons must now wait to see where this new, likely turbulent, road leads.