On Wed, 3 Apr 2019 09:49:24 -0400
RS Wood <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
March 29 was supposed to be the date Britain exited the European Union.
In the 33 months since our narrow decision to do that, our political
paralysis around the terms of our departure has reached a terminal,
possibly fatal state. The deal that Prime Minister Theresa May
negotiated with Brussels was robustly defeated in Parliament — twice.
Yet now, she must bring it back for a third time. If the deal cannot be
agreed upon, we very well might, after a derisory extension of two
weeks, leave without a deal at all — an eventuality that Parliament has
already rejected as too calamitous.
So we’re all agreed: In our bid to “quietly make history,” we would
prefer a deal that does not in fact exist and for which there is no
time left to negotiate because we’ve spent all of our time getting a
deal we don’t want, meaning that now we’re readying ourselves to
sidestep the humiliation of a deal we don’t like by accepting the ruin
of a non-deal we don’t like either. We are, in almost every sense, on a
plane to nowhere, and because we have nowhere to go, we have to
convince ourselves that nowhere is exactly where we wish to be.
With nothing meaningful to say about our future, we’ve retreated into
the falsehoods of the past, painting over the absence of certainty at
our core with a whitewash of poisonous nostalgia. The result is that
Britain has entered a haunted dreamscape of collective dementia — a
half-waking state in which the previous day or hour is swiftly erased
and the fantasies of the previous century leap vividly to the fore.
Turning on the television or opening Twitter, we find people who have
no memory of the Second World War invoking a kind of blitz spirit, or
succumbing to fits of self-righteous fury because someone has dared to
impugn the legacy of Winston Churchill.
So here we are, facing more delays and uncertainty. The Defense
Ministry reportedly is hunkering down in a nuclear bunker, preparing
for “no deal,” a crash headlong into a future from which we mistakenly
thought our past would protect us. We are pathologically unable to say
what needs to be said: that nostalgia, exceptionalism and a xenophobic
failure of the collective imagination have undone us. This is not a
time of national pride, it is a moment of deep and lasting national
shame. We are unable to lead yet determined never to follow. We have
nothing of note to say and yet still refuse to listen. The very forces
that have shored up our self-regard and poisoned our place in history
are about to erode us from within, and unless we find in ourselves the
humility we’ve always abhorred, we face a brutal and potentially