Nothing unwittingly captures the folly of Britain’s decision, last week, to leave the European Union than do comments from the world’s reigning absurdist, the presumptive Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States Donald Trump,
Having only just arrived to reopen his golf course in Scotland, the billionaire heir to impossible wealth tweeted, “Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!”
In an off-the-cuff interview with reporters, he elaborated: “I think it’s a great thing that’s happened. It’s an amazing vote, very historic. People are angry all over the world. They’re angry over borders, they’re angry over people coming into the country and taking over and nobody even knows who they are. They’re angry about many, many things in the UK, the US and many other places. This will not be the last.”
The curious problem with these remarks is, of course, the fact that Scotland voted 62 per cent to remain within the European Union and is now seriously considering a new referendum to separate from Britain to do just that. So is Ireland.
So, then, who does The Donald actually think took which country back, as he says, with “no games?”
Was it Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who told the BBC last weekend that she intends to spearhead a renewed effort for her nation’s independence from Westminster?
Was it Gerry Adams of Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein, who has, in vigorous protest to the Brexit vote, floated the idea of unifying his country with Eire as a bulwark against an increasingly belligerent England?
As usual, Mr. Trump is doing his level (if unconsciously ludicrous) best to increase Canada’s immigration rates – specifically, to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the color of one’s skin still tends to be as white as driven snow. After all, his special brand of xenophobia and populist outrage plays beautifully in places like “Little England” and “Outer Atlantica”.
But before we lick our chops at the prospect of somehow amalgamating London’s progressive urbanites with Boston’s disaffected Democrats within our own porous borders, we’d better be clear about a few incontrovertible facts of life in the global, 21st Century world we inhabit.
The first is: People in democracies make terrible mistakes when they are inchoately angry. They lash out like drunken bums on bingers, only to awake at dawn to ask, “My God, what have I done?”
The second is: The planet fairly brims with enterprising, calculating opportunists who are more than happy to drive wedges between people of otherwise good and temperate nature. The sharks among us swim for this conflict, because by fomenting it, they profit from it.
The third is: No one is ever truly satisfied with the decisions they make or the leaders they choose. All anyone can ever hope for is the wisdom and freedom to forgive, change and reconcile. This is the prevailing power of reasonable governments in stable societies.
The Brexit vote will affect every economy in the world, either directly or indirectly, including Atlantic Canada’s.
Here, we do ourselves a favour by ensuring that our borders are as open as our doors, our business is open-handed, our attitude towards immigrants is openhearted, and our concept of democracy is open-minded.
If we manage that feat, then we will reject the purchase of our minds that the absurdists and calculating suitors to our basest instincts among us insist.
Then, perhaps, tomorrow, people will tell villains like Donald Trump, “You’re fired.”