This article was written and published hours after Britain's EU referendum results came out There is an update titled 'Democraccident - The Movie' published on Monday, June 27 below this post.
I am a proud European and I’m feeling nervous about the UK voting to leave the Union today.
In my mind I am plotting all sorts of outcomes after the Brexit. Hardly any of them are constructive. But then again I am weary after spending most of the night following the events.
Let me start with an anecdote that lines up the point I want to make today:
One of my neighbours here in Brussels is well into his 90s. He is very much up on his feet and sometimes makes you wonder if the 90s are the new 60s.
He was a young man in Nazi occupied Belgium. Ever since, he still refuses to buy anything German. He once told us about what happened to him during the war, all I want to say is that I hope we never have to experience it.
It is also the reason why he recently put up a headstrong boycott against our decision to install a new elevator ‘Made in Germany’.
I can empathise with his feelings. I grew up with similar stories from my predecessors, but my neighbour’s demons from the past blew the process of getting a new elevator way out of proportion. He eventually got his way.
Why am I bringing this up?
The politics of apartment building politics run on consensus and they way my neighbour played it reminds me a bit of what just happened with the UK.
When I woke up this morning I was a confused as everyone else here in Europe to learn the the had UK voted to leave the EU.
My first attempt at rationalising this went something like this: ‘OK, so young Britons are frustrated with an uncertain future and they are blaming it on Europe’
It turns out that I was totally wrong about that! When I saw the demographic breakdown of voters, I was shocked.
Here’s a picture :
...and the article I got it from
It turns out that young Britons very much see their future as a part of the EU. But it seems that senior citizens snatched that aspiration away from them!
This is a geriatric rebellion!
It raises a question that is uncomfortable:
In a democratic society, should elders really have the power to determine the future of those who have their whole life ahead of them?
I know this may sound harsh, but after shifting around the words and re-writing the question a dozen times, it is the softest way I can think of posing it.
Please understand that I make no judgement, nor do I feel qualified to provide an answer at this stage, but I like to ask uncomfortable questions that help me think deeper about the human condition.
Look, I know that in less demographic times, the world has always been run by the elders. And even though youth outnumbered the elders by default, senior citizens ran the show.
Today, in Europe, demographics are more skewed towards seniors. So, those with most of their lives ahead of them are not getting enough of a say in what that future should look like.
This problem is not going to go away in most of Europe and I think it needs some attention.
Brexit is a crazy gamble on many fronts.
Will the UK be fine and will Europe be left having to deal with a tidal wave of reinvigorated populism and separatism. I hope the EU's politicians got the message and start growing a spine.
Or, will the UK eventually regret this democraccident as it descends into a vaudeville of silly politics and social strife, triggering a brain drain as it’s best talent seeks better opportunities around the world?
I’d love to hear your views…
Democraccident - The Movie
Published on Monday, June 27. 4 days after Brexit
We are living a historic moment right now. That is why it is so important to invest time and attention to try to figure out what it is exactly that we are facing here in Europe.
For me, the best way to try to understand something is to create content about it. So that is exactly what I did. Let me share with you a short video presentation that hopefully provides a perspective on the future of Britain and Europe:
And if you are really overwhelmed by all this. Here's a great resource that will bring you more clarity