Off-Island Update: I’m on the Border of History

Quick update: we’re off-island traveling and visiting family. I’ll have some random non-Roatan posts for you mixed in with the usual Roatan info for a while. Enjoy!


 

September 18, 2014, marks the date William Wallace and Robert the Bruce would have to pick their jaws up off the ground if they were still alive (in case you don’t know who they are, the quick fix is to watch Braveheart – but you should also do some Googling ASAP). Rather than having to lay siege and pick up arms to fight for independence from the British Crown, this week the Scottish people will go to the voting booths. How far we’ve come!

 

Regardless of the outcome of the referendum vote this Thursday, being in Scotland in the two weeks leading up to this momentous occasion has offered me a unique perspective. I spoke with Scottish supporters of a Yes vote for independence as well as Scottish supporters of a No vote against independence. Both sides have valid concerns for either outcome. Pros and Cons exist for keeping the status quo as much as for challenging the norm to gain independence. Financial and political concerns over possible independence have everyone speculating. Unknowns abound, but the idea of independence lures many young, proud Scots toward a Yes vote. Yet regardless of the outcome – in which I have no personal investment – the mere fact that Scotland has the option to vote for independence this week is incredible. Gone are the days when open battlefields determined ownership and control. Today’s United Kingdom differs greatly from the days of old. It is truly remarkable to see the civility and respect democratic proceedings can bring to a people. Well, of course, except for that well-dressed older gentleman on the street corner in Edinburgh who stood berating a young half-naked lad in only a kilt waving a large Scottish flag on the day of the Unionist parade. There is always an exception to every rule. But even that confrontation ended without a fight as onlookers stood between the two and eased them apart. Fighting isn’t going to resolve the issue of independence this time around, for which I’m sure many of our ancestors would be proud.

 

As I sat on the train from Edinburgh to London only days before the vote, I wondered what this week might bring. Perhaps I just crossed a vague border that will be demarcated more starkly by week’s end. Then again, perhaps nothing at all will change and London will hardly react to yet another attempt by its litany of subjects throughout history who have tried for independence but failed. Time will tell, but the history nerd in me is absolutely enthralled!

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