I’ve always been fascinated by all things British. Shakespeare was an early literary favorite – and before he was usurped by George Clooney in my esteem, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy held a special place in my teenage heart.
British history is full of drama and intrigue – rivaling, if not surpassing, the bloodiest and wildest episodes of Game of Thrones. I know that may not seem possible. But without the inspiration of British history, author George R.R. Martin would have probably been stuck writing episodes for Sesame Street. Imagine that. Poor Elmo.
Anyway, before this week, I had believed that Britain’s days of strife and drama were far behind them. I mean, they hadn’t cut off a royal’s head in … well… centuries. They had matured and developed into a nation where their most dangerous export was Simon Cowell. But now all that has changed.
Last week, in a shocking national referendum dubbed “Brexit,” a slim majority of the folks living in the United Kingdom voted to withdraw from the European Union. While this may not sound like a big deal, trust me, it is. If you are a fan of analogies, here’s one for you. Imagine that the European Union is the United States, and that the United Kingdom is California. The Brexit vote is pretty much equivalent to California deciding to declare independence and be its own country.
If you were paying slightest bit of attention in 11th grade U.S. History, you should know that the last time part of our country tried to withdraw from the United States, we fought a Civil War to force them back into the fold. So you can imagine the aftermath of this Brexit vote.
In the days following last week’s referendum, the British pound has tanked in value and stock markets around the world have – please excuse the technical term – freaked the $%&# out. France and Germany, the other two most influential members of the European Union, are now treating Britain like a cheating spouse – demanding that the U.K. hurry and pack up their crap to get the hell out of the house.
The British people themselves are heavily divided on this issue – causing tension across the British Isles. I don’t think there has been this much drama in the U.K. since King Henry VIII went on a rampage and got rid of five of his wives.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will see how the Brexit vote will play out for the U.K. and the world, at large. While I hope for the best, I can’t help but quote the incorrigible Mr. Shakespeare …
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”