Chris Benjamin

chrisbenjamin.com – my corner of the internet

Yes or No: Scotland Decides

September 9th, 2014

scotland-referendumI am thinking a lot about Scotland over the next nine days.  They are on the edge of a momentous decision.  On Sept. 18 they will decide if they choose to remain part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or they will become an independent nation.

The outcome of this vote is more significant than most Americans realize.  Other secessionist movements are watching the referendum on independence closely to see what happens, especially if the referendum succeeds. The sincerity of the United Nations’ Charter on the right of self-determination is also at stake.  If the nation votes for independence and it occurs without violent conflict, we may all be witnesses to an oddity of history.

The proponents and opponents of Scottish independence each have good arguments to make.  I am not qualified to comment on which is better for Scotland.  I also have no interest in writing analysis.  Other news outlets and commentators can do that better.  This is my blog on my website and I choose to be personal.

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“We Fight for Freedom!”

When I first visited Scotland in 1987 I was captivated by their dreams of being independent.  Maybe it appealed to me as an American.  Maybe it seemed to be Scotland’s due. Maybe I was young.  I love Scotland and I would be happy and content to live there for a long time.  I have always felt welcomed by Scotland and their hospitality is second to none.  But alas, I am not Scottish and I feel that it is not my place to say which is best for them.

Hold that thought — As an aside, I wish that our American leaders felt the same way I do.  The policy of the United States of America should be to stand beside and maintain good relations with the people of Scotland regardless of the outcome of the referendum.  Beyond that we should keep silent and our opinions on union or independence are of no importance.  We don’t get a vote. After all, who are we to say anything after we set our course in 1776.  We should not carelessly shout for independence when Scotland will have to bear the responsibility of nationalism on its own, and it is hypocritical of the U.S.A. to tell Scotland it should stay in the Union after we fought for independence and broke from the crown.  So hold your tongue America and support Scotland no matter what.  We need all the friends we can get.

What would the Union Jack look like without Scotland?

What would the Union Jack look like without Scotland?

Now, back to Scotland.  I have friends who hold different opinions on this matter.  It is a very difficult decision for them.  One of my friends, a long time advocate for Scottish Nationalism, told me that he is conflicted within.  He said, “My heart says YES to independence, but my head says NO – now is not the time.”  I respect that.  Other friends are confidently voting YES to independence and others are saying that the United Kingdom is “Better Together.”  I respect that.

But there will only be another nine days for Scotland to debate.  After September 18, the scales will tip one way or the other.  One thing will not change: I will appreciate Scotland and its people and wish them all the best in every endeavor.