Like many people in the UK the 24th of June 2016 was a day strange emotions, not least genuine surprise as I, with most others it seems, had accepted the received wisdom that Remain would win. The intensity of the campaign, the high stakes, and the relative narrowness of the win inevitably means the Referendum result is loaded with strong emotions on both sides. Like the aftermath of the Scottish Referendum in 2014 the airwaves and social media seem to be full of recrimination (e.g. ‘selfish pensioners’ versus ‘on the pay roll snobs’) – then it was the failure to overturn the status quo, now it’s the opposite.
The challenge for everyone (not least Christians) is not allowing those feelings to become a running sore. Something that is true in dealing with any decision that we have a strong sense of investment in – whether that be national politics, business restructuring or church reorganisation and change.
Now the challenge here will always be greater for the losing side (or those who feel they’ll be adversely affected by it). If you got your way or feel you're a beneficiary then it’s no great achievement to be magnanimous and ready to ‘move on’. Your challenge is not to be smug or aggressively defensive.
So in order to guard against the temptation to point score, impute selfish motives and generally just be snarky in such situations it might be helpful to consider this ABC, of not just Referendum Recovery, but of how we can healthily and constructively try to approach all such matters.
1. Accept it, it’s done, it’s a fact – no amount of trying to rerun the debate on social media will alter it. We all knew the rules when we entered (50%+ wins), and we always accept them when it’s our side that gets over the line. There are two sides in any argument and neither is likely to have a total monopoly on wisdom, morality or pure motives. Not everyone agrees with you (and that doesn’t mean they’re stupid or morally inferior), they simply don’t see it the way you do and that’s probably just as well.
2. Breathe – relax, it really isn’t the end of the world. You’re still here, the world is still turning and life goes. Crises, recessions, upheavals and booms come and go and will all come round again. The media exist to turn every story into the stuff of nightmares – whether terrorism, disease or the economy. At some point in the future it will all be old newspapers (it just will be).
3. Consider – that there might be some upside to the other point of view (whatever side you’re on), it probably has some plus points and validity. It’s not what you wanted, and maybe you’ll never regard it as a great option, but it can probably work to some degree without being a disaster.
In all this be humble, after all while the post-modernism idea that we can all be right is nonsense – it is possible that we could all be wrong! Perfect wisdom (and government) belongs only to God.
Please, please don’t start commenting on this re: your Referendum views (do that elsewhere). The point of this is about individuals moving on in a non-divisive way. Apologies if you think that is in itself condescending or partial - that is in no way my intention. Thanks.