What has the referendum meant to me?

Today is EU referendum day.  At last I hear many people cry.  But what has it meant for me?

One thing for sure is that my children have become more politically aware which is something I am grateful for.  In the past, the complexity of local and general elections have made it difficult for my children to really have an informed opinion.  They have grasped that there are different political parties and that there are MPs who represent them but trying to tease out and enable them to understand similarities and difference between the parties has been difficult.  However, the simplicity of ‘In’ and ‘Out’ has enticed my children to examine the arguments for and against and come up with their own opinions and stance on the issue.  Of my lovely three children whose ages are 7, 10 and 12 we have two who would vote remain and one who would vote out.  I’m extremely proud they have an opinion and thankful that the referendum has made this happen.

Sadly, there is very little else positive I can say about the referendum.  For me, the outcome is almost meaningless, as the divisive nature of the referendum has exposed some deplorable behaviour from some people.  I have questionned their personal morals and ethics, which until the referendum, I have never doubted. I understand that people are passionate about their beliefs, whether it is remain or leave, but the manner in which this is presented by some has been loathsome and ugly.  I more than welcome informed opinion and well-articulated arguments, I have needed these in order to form my own opinion on how to cast my vote.  What has devalued the referendum for me is the brutal, arrogant and superior way some have presented their views.  In every day life, I consider these people to be kind, thoughtful and respectful people who are shining examples of what it means to be a British citizen.  However, the EU debate has been a catalyst for the character of some to change beyond recognition. I hope it is merely a temporary blip ignited by passion. 

I sincerely wish that once our votes are cast, counted and declared we can all return to a less divisive society.  A soceity where we do not judge, ridicule or belittle people because of their views but respect them for their opinion and beliefs.  I know this may seem idealist and naive but throughout this whole process, I have watched my children listen, consider, debate and voice their views about the EU referendum without causing offence or assuming superiority over others.  How are these skills and qualities lost as we become adults?  As I cast my vote today, it is the effect on relationships that will mean the most to me about this referendum.  I truly hope that we recover from this, whatever the outcome is tomorrow morning.

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