Brits to world: We voted for this ... thingy

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Great Britain got a rude surprise. It voted to exit the European Union, being referred to in the news as Brexit.

Brexit by itself is a dumb nickname for the move - the British exit. Whoever came up with this nickname had to be drinking a few pints too many. A better slogan would have been: “Let’s Leave And Ask Questions Later.”

So, the Brits voted by 52 percent to get out of the EU, which will have fairly minimal long-term effects on you and I. The good news is that the dollar is gaining and that European vacations and imported products from the EU will now be a little cheaper.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting a few differences this vote has highlighted between their way of campaigning and ours.

The worst of it for us is over when the stock market recovers. Thanks, Brits. My 401K has to pay for your ignorance. But that’s O.K. There had to be some reprisal sooner or later for the butt-kicking in 1776.

I know, it was unintentional. Nothing personal. We’ll chalk it up to how out of touch and gullible the average Joe is over there, despite that fancy accent and stiff upper lip.

You have lost the right to brag about how your elections are brief and to the point. In this case, the majority of you prim and proper gentlemen and ladies showed the world that you really don’t know what the heck is going on.

A headline from the Independent the morning after the vote: “Cornwall votes for Brexit and then pleads to keep EU funding.” Next line: “Cornwall receives millions of pounds in EU subsidies every year.”

Really? This is a simple issue that even we, the USA voters, understand. I know we have a different accent that does not sound as sophisticated as the Brits’. The nice things about the USA, actually, is that we have a lot of accents.

Let’s see. When you decide to leave an organization, the money that group sends you each year in aid stops flowing. It would have been really smart to read up on the consequences of your vote before actually casting it.

So, if Texas were to secede from the Unites States, it would be unreasonable to expect any support from the federal government, such as disaster relief funds, money to improve highways and education, aid for children and senior citizens, grants, and other federal programs. Texas would be done as far as receiving federal money and would have to fend for itself the best it could.

While secession is not possible, the case would be similar to Cornwall’s. So why did the residents of Cornwall and many other cities vote for Brexit?

In a short election cycle, simplistic slogans overshadow facts. Negative and hateful campaigning tends to be heard over the details of an issue, and there is little time to counteract it. The Brits pride themselves on these quick votes. But this time it backfired.

We do it differently. We beat an issue to death for months and even years before the voting starts. By the time elections are held in the USA, everything is known about a candidate or issue. The campaigns are expensive and torturously long, but the issues get hashed out on all sides.

We have plenty of election-related problems here, but brevity is not one of them. There is plenty of time to fully understand an issue or vent a candidate.

Here is another headline from the morning after the Brexit vote: “The British are frantically Googling what the E.U. is, hours after voting to leave it.”

That is really smart, Brits. Vote first and ask questions later. You threw the world financial markets into a temporary tailspin, and you didn’t really know the consequences of exiting the EU, or even what the EU is?

You have lost the right to call American voters the dumbest in the world. I don’t know how smart we are, but the worst we can do now is be labeled second dumbest.

After the Brits realized what they have really done, they started a petition for a second vote. I guess we’re now going to have the best out of three, or something? A survey taken after the vote concluded that 30 percent of those casting votes had no clue what they were actually voting on, but were led by some nationalist fervor that capitalized on Europe’s immigrant problems.

The EU does have an immigrant problem, but this vote had little to do with that. The average voter in flyover country was told differently, and they voted accordingly and emotionally.

As the aftermath continued, I kept reading reports that the Brits really regretted their vote. “If I had known that it had a chance of passing, I would not have voted for it,” a man was quoted saying.

Really? Are you that dumb?