Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Revolutionary Idea

I moved out of home into the dorms (at the school my Dad taught at) in 10th grade. I’ve largely lived away from home since then. For over 20 years I’ve lived alone --- not counting furry folks (non-human.) More recently I’ve been happily adjusting to life with a partner, including sharing space (at least the times we’re on the same coast). Being on my own is great, but being with my soul mate is fantastic. It’s a great melding that creates interdependence, not one of us being either independent or dependent totally. It got me to wondering if that’s a model that could work in politics as well?

There has been some hyperventilating in social media, the press and indeed the public at large at the idea of a President Donald J. Trump. One town in Canada set up a website encouraging Americans to come to Cape Breton if Trump wins. The site has gotten millions of hits. That’s definitely the “leave home and don’t look back” model.

Moving away isn’t always possible. Moving home sometimes is. The Huffington Post reports that nearly 1 in 3 millennials (18-31) live at home because of declining employment, rising college costs and declines in marriage. That’s 21.6 million people who have found it made more sense to live at home with their parents than forge out on their own. It doesn’t work for everybody or every generation.

Last week hundreds of people celebrated the 240th anniversary of Evacuation Day. The holiday commemorates the withdrawal of British forces from Boston on March 17, 1776 at the start of the Revolutionary War. That was the one where the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. It took until 1783 for the war to end and America’s sovereignty to be recognized.

Independence built this country not just as an idea but as a way of existing. Maybe it’s time to rethink that whole idea. Maybe it’s time to come under Her Majesty’s umbrella once again.

America has its fair share of anglophiles – people who adore the Mother Country. Part of that is the monarchy. The New York Times ran a story “Why Do Americans Love the British Royal Family?” The summation states: “Part of this enduring obsession, surely, has to do with curiosity about the path not taken, the what-ifs and might-have-beens. But it also reflects the perseverance of an older emotional and highly ceremonial bond between the monarch and his or her subjects, a bond that applied even to those colonists who settled on lands far removed from Hampton Court and Kew Palaces. In 1776, Americans may have been fed up with royal politics, but most were anything but tired of royal pomp and circumstance.”

Of course the English don’t want America. They don’t seem to even want to be part of the European Union that they originally joined in 1973. There’s a referendum scheduled for June 23, 2016 and the battle is fierce as to whether to stay in or go solo. Polls shows the public nearly evenly split.

It’s like the millennial who moves back home only to have their parents looking at going off to the seashore by themselves.


Having the US return to her British roots is an amusing concept but not based in any real personal or political desire to see it happen. Instead it represents a metaphor that reflects my own living situation: it’s time for more interdependence and not just being independent or dependent. In other words: can’t we figure out our differences in a productive way? That’s not a great sound-byte in today’s political discourse, but it’s a good policy and approach. Revolutionary indeed.

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