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The EU Referendum: a vote for generosity

By Alexandra Khan | 17 June 2016 | Comments (6)

brexit

A cross in a box.

A tiny flick of our pen, a mighty decision – not just for our nation, but for the EU, the Commonwealth and the world.


There is the temptation (for each of us, regardless of age or circumstance) to vote in the EU Referendum purely based on what will benefit us the most. Not the collective ‘us’ - the individual ‘us’.


Over the past ten years I’ve been the classic twenty-something ‘floating voter’, hopping between political parties depending on how well their policies suited me in my various roles: student, mother, would-be home owner.  


Today, as a millennial voter, I’m all too aware that this vote matters – that the voice of my generation in particular is vital because we will be the ones most affected by the outcome in years to come.  


More than ever, I find myself in conversations with my peers over drinks, on the train, or in church – all of us saying, ‘We’ve got to make ourselves heard, because we’re going to bear the brunt of this…but which way do we go? What’s best, really?’


I am neither an economist nor a politician. I don’t pretend to understand all the nuances of the debate on either side. When I weigh into a Facebook conversation about the campaign’s latest claims, I am parroting what I’ve heard somewhere else. And so far, everyone I’ve spoken to is doing more or less the same thing.


As the media reports unexpected shifts in public opinion, the debates and pamphlets handed out on street corners become ever more vehement, and the items shared on Facebook take on an increasingly sardonic tone, I find myself – a thirty year-old, educated professional – more baffled than ever.


In the middle of that mental tug of war, I’m reminded that those that would use political platforms to push selfish agendas are counting on two things:

  1. That they can play on my fears (about immigration, economic failure, or loss of rights)
  2. That my instinct for self-preservation will override my ability to think beyond my immediate needs


It’s idealistic to believe that there could ever be one decision that will benefit everyone, but we know two more things for certain: fear is generally considered to be the weakest place from which to make a solid decision, and selfishness is the opposite of generosity. So how can we approach the EU Referendum with a strong, generous stance?

Perhaps a starting place would be to stop prioritising the needs of my one generation above the needs of those above or below. Perhaps I need to think wider.


My feeling is that it’ll require effort, research, and empathy. It’s not enough for me to vote based on my desire to travel to Europe without the hassle of getting a Visa, or on how well I think it’ll bolster the UK economy (and therefore, my bank account). More than ever, I’ve got a duty to think more laterally.


When the 23rd June rolls around and the time comes for me to mark that cross in a box, it’ll be my heart attitude that matters more than the direction of my vote.


Read more...

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Posted by Alexandra Khan

Alexandra is a digital marketing executive for Stewardship. Originally trained in music, she went on to spend a few years in the videogames industry before making the leap to the NFP sector. Follow her on Twitter: @alxkhn

comments:

Alexandra Khan

June 20, 2016 10:15 AM
Hi Chris Moyler - thanks for your comments. This wasn't a plug for Remain (I tried quite hard not to come down on one side or the other; because you're correct, this blog isn't a forum for political propaganda) - and at the time of writing this blog I still had not come to a firm decision over which way I would vote. I tried to make that as evident as I could. Apologies if you felt it was biased in either direction.

In any case, Stewardship (not CAF) is a charity rooted in Christianity with a specific focus on generosity. It therefore follows that Stewardship would comment on the heart attitude with which we as Christians approach the referendum vote.

I agree that economics are certainly just one piece of the puzzle - but the point of the article was not to argue the case for either side. It was simply to say, 'This vote must be made with generous awareness of the 'other' - a selfless attitude - one that doesn't bow to fear or self-servitude.'

I hope that helps, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

Alexandra

Chris Moyler

June 17, 2016 5:19 PM
It seems to me like this was a plug for Remain?

Disappointed to see this article in the blog

I thought CAF was anot organisation founded on Christian roots, that it is a Christian charity?

The EU has specifically excluded all references to the importance of Europe's Judaeo Christian foundations from its most important founding documents. It has used the Tower of Babel as the model for its Parliament Building!

I would have thought that the spiritual roots of the EU would be a matter of extreme importance for a Christian charity, far outweighing any considerations of economics.

Thank you. Chris

Chris Jeynes

June 20, 2016 8:39 AM
It is not a matter of "prioritising" your generation's needs, Alexandra, but you are right about generosity. My view is that all sides are doing their best to press our buttons - fear of this or that or naked (short term) self-interest. But we should lock up our buttons and give the key to the Holy Ghost!

My view is that as Christians we are part of the Body of Christ - we are not merely individuals and should not act merely as individuals. And we should be repulsed by attempts to set off one group of people against another. Moreover, the Psalmist is very definite about not "sitting in the seat of mockers" (Ps.1:1): we should beware the company we keep since groupthink is very hard to detect.

There is a very wise and thoughtful essay by Christopher Hancock: "Britain and Europe: What would wisdom say?" (published by Emmanuel Church, Oxford) which you may find helpful:

http://emmanueloxford.org/blog/britain-and-europe-what-would-wisdom-say

Alexandra Khan

June 20, 2016 10:16 AM
Hi Chris Jeynes - thanks for your comments and suggestions! Will look up that essay.

Thanks,

Alexandra

John

June 20, 2016 11:08 AM
I myself would vote remain but see no particular direction from the blog article as others put it. I can say that I have looked into the many issues and while at university we did an entire year on what EU does and rights etc so feel I have some background to all the crazy debates going on.

But just as believing in Christianity is a choice, so is this. I choose to believe in the idea that working together with others is the way forward and the whole idea with human rights directives and helping me in employment are great incentives to keep in with what already works.

A useful website to read what the EU does and what rights you get is the Europa.eu website: http://europa.eu/index_en.htm - A site that has been made available for years but many do not exist. It doesn't fight either way, but does tell you what is happening.

- John

Marcus

June 21, 2016 9:18 AM
We should vote in a manner that would best place us as one of the richest counties in the world to help the poorest.

More importantly, Alex, I thought you didn't do Facebook! ;-)

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