Brexit Through the Gift Shop
I ran a little long on the guns, so I'll keep this section brief.
I’m an American, and don’t think I can comment terribly intelligently about the European Union. John Oliver goes on a rant about why Brexit is a bad idea and that the Conservative Party behind it in England are alarmist, anti-immigration and vaguely racist. At the end of the segment he says, “all that being said, I understand why my countrymen voted the way they did.”
Having done some research and talking to some British friends I got the same ending: “But I understand.” Some are straight up for it, and these are educated people that I like and respect.
The first I heard of the vote was actually on Twitter, when Sarah Silverman tweeted “Xenophobia wins in Britain, but what did they win?”
My immediate thought was “Xenophobia? How so?”
At this point, I knew very little of the parties and arguments involved. My gut reaction was feeling good for Great Britain. They were tired of picking up the tab for the debt-ridden and bankrupt countries in southern Europe and decided they’d had enough. Why should law abiding and taxpaying citizens support corrupt governments, tax-cheating citizens and cash-strapped ruling despots that live thousands of miles away? All the while remaining a part of this incredibly bureaucratic, regulated organization. Hell, Britain even decided to keep the British pound instead of assimilating to the euro when the EU adopted a currency. This proves that they were semi-skeptical from the start, probably rightly so.
John Oliver revealed on his show that Britain sends 200 million pounds a week to the EU! Holy moly, thats a lot of money. On top of that, some dispute that the figure is even higher. Oliver also says that Britain receives almost equal that amount of benefits, but he’s rather vague on that point. If you are a tax-paying British citizen and you see that number, you have to be scratching your head to the point of drawing blood. The people making economic policy are largely unelected officials sitting in Brussels justifying their positions by creating a more complicated and dense bureaucracy. A virtual maze of rules and regulations that can’t possibly apply to every nation in the EU is inefficiency at its worst.
My first reaction was that the decision was economic, however, it also clearly has a immigratory slant that I hadn’t even considered. Here is where I split from the ideals espoused on my views of gun control. This is why I cannot and will not be easily characterized or labeled. Because even if it is solely about immigration, I still get it and somewhat agree with Britian's decision.
There’s a groundswell of defense amongst liberals in America and Europe for immigrants—especially Middle Eastern immigrants. They think a country is monstrous if they don’t have our borders open for anyone who wants to come in. Of course, I know, as I’m sure they do as well, that immigration is much more complicated than just showing up at the gate and knocking.
In Europe, things are a bit different than here in the US. If you are a member of the EU, your borders are subservient to EU immigration laws. They are wide open. If you are a member of the EU, you can cross any border freely. Kind of scary, isn’t it? Just ask France. They had radical Muslim terrorists (I’m not afraid to say the term, like Democrats) pouring in from various bordering countries to attack in Paris and Nice. I wonder how their typical citizens feel right now about immigration?
England is already home to many different cultures, including a large Muslim population. Maybe they just don’t want more of an influx of potentially dangerous people. Is that so hard to understand? Does that make them insensitive monsters? If a neighboring country like France had been viciously attacked several times by immigrants of a certain culture, wouldn’t you have a predilection towards setting up your own immigration rules to potentially avoid injury or even death for you and your loved ones because some bureaucratic body thousands of miles away dictates who can and can't come through your borders?
So, I get it, I understand. I’m sure a smarter and more schooled person than I could refute much of that I’ve just said. But does it not make sense what Britain has decided to do?
After all, our own Thomas Jefferson said, “A little revolution every now and then is a good thing.”