As I wake to news of two shootings in the USA, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio. I think of those whose lives have been changed irrevocably. I think of the loss and the senselessness of it. Innocent people going about their lives, enjoying a night out or shopping on a weekend. It brings me to think about division. There seems to be so much focus at the present time on difference, on separation and of negativity.
In the UK, Brexit has been the focus for the last three years. As the clock ticks down the deadline day on October 31st. As the four countries who make up the United Kingdom voted in different ways (Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain, England and Wales to leave) an undercurrent of racism, division and disenfranchisement becomes ever more apparent to me.
There have been numerous discussions about immigration and movement of EU citizens. As a Scot living in an EU country, I find it very troubling. It smacks to me of introversion and ‘British jobs for British people.’ What about inclusion? What about travel broadening the mind? What about seeing ourselves as citizens of the world and welcoming those who chose to make the UK their home as I have in the EU? What about all of the benefits that immigration has brought?
I also find parallels with the US, the President’s desire to build a wall to keep immigrants out and negative focus on immigration. Seeing immigrants in very negative terms. To me, all this negativity and hatred cannot possibly end well.
Surely we should be looking for commonalities? Finding what connects us? Working together to eradicate disease, poverty, homelessness. Working to have a more connected world, recognising and harnessing skills and talents from across the globe. Working to end inequalities. Why see difference as something sinister to be feared? Why not embrace it?
In these worrying times, I find myself thinking more and more of this message from the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and how much better the world would be of we abided by it. So, I am going to try in my life more and more to do this and would hope to encourage others to do the same.
Let’s just “be excellent to each other.”