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Democracy happens

Democracy
1.
government by the people; a form of governmentin which the supreme power is vested in thepeople and exercised directly by them or by theirelected agents under a free electoral system.
2.
a state having such a form of government:
The United States and Canada are democracies.
3.
a state of society characterized by formal equalityof rights and privileges.
4.
political or social equality
5.
the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; thecommon people with respect to their political power.

 

On the morning of 24th June 2016 social media was a malignant place. (Word of warning, folks, never go full malignant on your followers. It always, always make you look stupid, no matter how righteous your protest).
‘Out of touch elitists sneering at proles who dared to have an opinion’ huffed the victorious Brexiteers.
‘Stupid, uneducated, bigots and racists who’ve ruined our future ‘ snarled the losing Remainers.

None of it was edifying.

Of course there was going to be emotion. 33 million people had voted in a country deeply divided on the issue of whether the UK should remain in the EU. The massive turnout an indication of how strongly people felt about having a chance to express their opinion on the matter.

It was predicted to be close but the smart money was on a narrow Remain win as it was widely assumed that at the last moment more voters would take a cautious ‘better the devil you know’ approach.

Instead, the country delivered an historic Leave vote.
‘A social, economic and political earthquake’ as some breathlessly called it. ‘The most momentous event in British history since the 2nd World war, said the sort of commentators not normally given to dramatic utterings.

So, strong feelings were to be expected. But the scale of the vitriol, post vote, has been disgraceful. And let’s not beat around the bush, it has mostly (not all) come from those who voted In. They have freely dubbed millions of their countrymen and women as stupid, racist, bigoted little Englanders in attacks that make it clear they only respect democracy if it goes their way. Millions are even signing petitions for a second bite at the cherry, another referendum.
Er, that’s also not how democracy works – you don’t keep bashing away at it until you get the result you want.

33 million people voted. People of different backgrounds, different experiences, different ages, different ethnicities, different social backgrounds, different view points.
This was not a moral referendum about whether slavery of humans or apartheid should be continued or abolished. There was no right or wrong answer.
It was a political vote in the real sense.

As in sport there could only be one winner. ‘The country has made a clear decision’ said the outgoing prime minister, David Cameron who campaigned for Remain. He respected that decision by resigning. Social media which constantly tries to shut down debate with nasty name calling knows little about respect.

Instead of insulting those with opposing views we should be grateful that democracy allows us a chance to express those different views at the ballot box. The alternative is much, much worse.

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