Brexit: Leave and Remain build hope

After giving both Leave and Remain supporters the chance to speak and listen to each other (see the 2 previous posts), I invited supporters of both options to say “What are you (personally) doing to build hope where you are? Give us examples of little steps you are taking that can inspire others to do the same.” Answers below, edited only for typos, without identifying the authors.

  1. Good question! I want to talk the country up, not down. I want to challenge lies – let’s stick what we said. And I want to pray for truth, integrity, wisdom in our leaders. But would love to hear from others. I’m not sure I’m very developed in my thinking yet.

2. As Chaplain in an Academy, I have plenty of opportunity to build hope (indeed, it’s kind of in my JD).
Today I spent an hour talking to some of the most ‘difficult ‘ about the immediate and long term affects of racism, and how they can identify and deal with it in others and themselves.
I get to remind staff almost every day that hope is real, and worth pursuing – and to (hopefully) help them see glimpses of light shining through even on the darkest of days.
Outside of work, i help my daughters look for the good in situations and people.
Inside my head, especially at the moment, all of the above is quite hard sometimes…

3. Showing friendship to those from other EU countries who face an uncertain future.

4. I am actively taking time to talk and encourage the people I meet every day around the school and the town and on here to maintain balance, to ignore the constant barrage of negative fear mongering that is everywhere at the moment, particularly on social media. Words are powerful things, they bring life or death to both the speaker and the hearer. I choose to bring life where I can.

I am meeting lots of people who are scared but who have a lot of misconceptions and have been unable to distinguish between the truth and the lies out there, often being terribly afraid of something that actually isn’t true. I don’t have answers. I just believe that what you keep feeding will grow so it is important to counterbalance the negative stuff out there and unpick the untruths where possible, so I tell them not to give up hope, not to focus on only the negatives they hear but to seek out the alternative viewpoint. I tell them I believe there is hope and will hold on to that regardless.

I am telling my 15 year old son that his future is not destroyed as the media are busy telling him. That there are turbulent times to get through first but the potential for new things to come is enormous. That he still has a future to aim for and take hold of. To quote a poster on his dad’s wall that “those who say it can’t be done shouldn’t get in the way of those who are doing it.”

I don’t need to tell him to continue to accept the people at his school who are immigrants because he does anyway. He has never distinguished them by skin colour, only by their behaviour. I continue to cheer him on for that attitude.

5. Personally, checking my rights to Irish citizenship & starting to investigate life in Ireland.
Looking out some safety pins (can’t put them on waterproof jackets though).

6. Sharing the idea and offering pins to our members at St Stephen’s E17 this coming Sunday.

7.  Intentionally talking to Eastern European neighbours (previously: neighbours) and people we meet checking they are ok.

8. Continuing to try & teach myself some polish, checking in with school to make sure kids and parents are safe and happy, wearing a safety pin, challenging dickishness.

9. Using FB – Posting a sermon following the referendum results from All Saints Church, St Margarets, Nr. Twickenham. Sending it in messages to FB friends who have commented about referendum.
Trying my best to gently calm the angry responses closer to home – family!

10. My heart is raw, heavy and deeply unsettled so forgive me but Im trying to engage with your question. I have decided that I’d rather be beaten up than allow abuse of other foreigners. I’m actively sitting near people speaking foreign languages so that I can defend them if needed. Sadly in my current emotional state I’d probably not be averse to physically confronting such racism. Probably not exactly what you were hoping for but it is honestly where I am at present. Apologies to my vicar and parents who may choose to have read something more grace filled.

11. I tread carefully until I know which way a person voted, I reign in my comments when talking to friends who voted the other way. I am struggling with this current situation.

12. I have to say that I am at quite a loss here, Rev. The whole process dragged so many memories of the divisions after Indy Ref to the forefront… which is where a substantial part of my discomfort comes from. At least, this time, Scotland seemed to be speaking with (more or less) a united voice. But the in-fighting; lying through statistical propaganda; leaders with faces I would never tire of slapping… it was all too reminiscent.

I teach my children tolerance (acceptance of another’s viewpoint, but not necessarily agreement with – )and a firm belief that God loves everyone – no matter what – but in a country where I can be arrested at a football match for singing sectarian songs, but have to wait in a traffic jam in the middle of my own town whilst the Unionists march down the high street, waving orange banners and playing those tunes on flutes, it often seems pointless. If we can’t sort this type of stuff out, what hope of getting the bigger picture?

I don’t see the benefits of leaving – sadly, all too many people don’t accept the reality that the free movement of people goes both ways. UK citizens can go and work in mainland Europe; the barrier is often language. Other countries are willing to learn English, our shouty people who don’t like immigrants don’t want to go to Italy and learn Italian. In order to continue being successful, we are going to have to accept some kind of free movement: which is going to upset people all over again. Yet, maybe there is hope for our farmers (if they don’t rely on those evil immigrants to work for them – doing jobs the British kids don’t want). If we are not putting into the Euro Food Mountain, then maybe we will stop growing so much oil-seed rape and start growing real food again which can be exported.

There will be Indy Ref 2 – although Nicola is taking her time about it: she’s far more canny than Pie-Face Salmond, and her biggest issue during the next Referendum (other than proving the economic case – which may involve loss of the pound) is to keep Alex Salmond out of it. I am convinced he lost it for them last time – insincere and smug as he was. I don’t want to go back to that bitterness. Yet, if there is hope, it is maybe there. We might be poor, we might have sky-high mortgages, but at least our kids will have access to a free Europe.

I don’t want to imagine another war in Ireland – although with a solid, militarised border that will (almost certainly) have to be put in place to protect the UK (!), there will be many who think that will be something that can happen. We were in Belfast a few years ago – and the divisions are deep and hurting (kerb stones painted red/white/blue or green/white/orange depending on the flavour of Christianity practiced in the town). A united Ireland may not appeal to all, but it will be a debate to come…and maybe that’s the hope – that Ireland will go through a long process of debate and talk, and come out more peaceful than ever before.

Gosh, I sound so fed up – and maybe I am. Political leadership is at a premium, and we’re floundering into the dark. I don’t think the Lord has a political side: he lets us choose our path, and meets us along the road. My prayer is that we find him, and walk with him; hearing his voice and living to full the situation we have cooked for ourselves.

13. It’s a bit like my best mate being an Arsenal fan whilst I’m a Spurs fan. Friendly banter whilst respecting the other’s view.

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