I hate to be writing about this Brexit disaster. After all, the week began on such a promising note, with the NBA’s Cavaliers reminding us why sports has always been the truly great, original reality show that can delight and deliver the seemingly impossible. Inexcusably mixing metaphors, Cleveland’s 2016 basketball miracle is about to give way to a Republican Convention that could end up adding to the one-word descriptions of previous sports-related disasters that plagued the city. “Believeland” is the ESPN documentary that chronicles those Cleveland failures… to be reedited by June 30! The Fumble, The Drive, The Shot…. say hello to The Oaf. Synonyms include The lout, boor, barbarian, Neanderthal,fool, dolt, dullard, idiot, imbecile, moron, halfwit, lamer, cretin, ass, jackass, goon, yahoo, clod, blockhead, meathead, butthead, meatball, bonehead, knucklehead, chucklehead, lamebrain, palooka, lug, bozo, hoser, boob, chowderhead, lummox, knuckle-dragger, galoot, klutz, goofus, doofus, dork, turkey, or dingbat.
The week ended with the world holding its breath over what may turn out to be the worst British miscalculation since 1938. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had returned from sharing tea with Adolph Hitler and stood in the same spot in front of 10 Downing St. that current PM David Cameron occupied while announcing his resignation last Friday. Chamberlain said:
We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again….My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is “peace for our time.” Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.
The major difference between the two decisions is that the Brexit vote was just that… a UK-wide referendum, not the judgement of one politician, as was Munich. That doesn’t make it any better, wiser, or any less subject to regret. It’s never a sure thing, but when given the choice, defendants often pick one judge over a jury of their so-called peers to decide their fate. There’s no right answer, but the Brexit vote may actually disprove Winston Churchill’s quoting that “many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” It must be remembered, right now, that the world, led by the United States, decided two world wars emanating from Europe in the 20th Century was enough, and that economic ties via the European Union and its predecessors would go far to prevent a third. The old adage that democracies don’t go to war with each other was a foundational idea.
I can’t recall in any election such a stark, generational divide. From The Daily Mail in a perfectly headlined piece “This vote doesn’t represent the younger generation who will have to live with the consequences’: Millennials vent fury at baby boomers for voting Britain OUT of the EU,” Lily Bowen wrote: ‘Older generations really don’t realize how badly this will affect our future #EUref.’…. While Matt Cooper tweeted: ‘Brilliant, once again the older generations get to decide what’s best and we’ve got to pickup the pieces #EUref.’ I can’t see how you keep a society together with grandparents voting what they think are their short-term interests at the expense of the grandkids.
You had to know the Brexit outcome was a bad decision when delusional golf-course empresario Donald Trump flew to Scotland, where they voted heavily to remain, and ignorantly pronounced himself both prescient and understanding of what just happened.
Only after November 8th will we know if Trump will have gotten away with this kind of garbage…. and that’s being nice to garbage…. blowing two full days of what’s left of his intellectually and financially bankrupt campaign– bigfooting his way to promote another business failure, with the world press in tow, for the free publicity. As more and more of Trump’s con-man frauds, scams, and general Fleecing of America schemes are revealed, your hopes rest with the truth punching through and hitting enough Americans upside the head that he gets slaughtered in the general. Here’s another we’re just learning about: Cambridge Who’s Who. What? Huh? The New York Times says Cambridge “generated hundreds of complaints that it deceptively peddled the promise of recognition in a registry, as well as branding and networking services of questionable value. Dozens of people who paid Trump-endorsed businesses were also sold products by Cambridge, which benefited from its partnership with Donald Trump Jr. through “leveraging relationships built by the Trump empire,” according to Cambridge. Trump is like the John Wayne Gacy of politicians: every time you think you’ve found all the dead bodies buried beneath the floorboards, a few more gruesomely appear.
Is it possible for a huge swath of a country to make a move based on a miscalculation based on misinformation resulting in mass buyers’ instant remorse and regret? It may be, in this case. Millions have already signed petitions calling for a second vote, and many of those are people who voted to leave. It’s quite clear that disinformation, ignorance, and nationalistic emotion took hold with a whole new level of sticking it to the man, to the intellectuals, to anyone in power with no regard to the consequences. The Bregretters! How some voters who backed Leave vote now claim they want to STAY in the EU . . . ‘I didn’t think my vote would count’
Sorry, Brits. You’re not going to get a do-over anymore than the Republican Party is going to get a do-over in Cleveland. The difference, so far, is that Brexit has immediate and long-term damage components to it; the nomination of Trump as the Republican candidate is not a final decision by the entirety of the American electorate. There are no Lincolns in British politics, and we have none here right now. Lincoln said this in December of 1862:
We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.