I can’t… I’m shocked at what I’ve been reading on my screen since last Friday, the day after the EU referendum. You expect politicians to play dirty with name calling, unfair labelling and stereotypes, running smear campaigns… but you certainly don’t expect that kind of behaviour from your friends and the people around you. This post is not about politics or the kind of campaign both parties ran… this is about the reaction I got from people just because I voted to leave the EU.

In every kind of election or situation where different views are called upon, whether I agree with them or not… I have never strayed from the mindset that as humans, we are all entitled to our own opinions, views, stances, etc. I may think you are completely and utterly wrong… but I respect that you, as a non-robot human being, have the choice whether to hold that opinion or not.

So why is it, I wake up the morning after the referendum to find all over my social media, my friends calling me:  Homophobic, a Bigot, an Islamophobe, a Racist, a Facist, xenophobic and… so much more (it got explicit).

What’s even more shocking, is that the majority of the name calling and abusive messages, came from my Christian friends. (Guys… you’re really not doing us any favours.)

Do I think people are entitled to be upset about a decision they didn’t want? Yes.  Do I think people should be passionate about the things they stand for? Yes.

But it’s not okay to attack and hurl abuse at people just because you differ on a matter. Do you think if I met an atheist in the street or someone with a different faith, that I could get away with suddenly calling them all sorts of nasty names just because we have extremely different views on life? NO. I’d probably have charges pressed against me and a lawsuit before the day was done.

What If?

The question that kept going through my head over the last couple days was… how would all of these people react if the decision had gone the other way and the UK stayed in the EU, and the people who voted “remain” woke up to the same kind of offensive and disgusting language that I did on Friday morning and throughout the weekend. I know for certain, they wouldn’t stand for that behaviour. So why should I? Why should it be okay for people to act out because they didn’t get the result they wanted?

Again, let me emphasise, I’m not saying don’t express your frustration or disappointment or even anger… Not at all. It’s important to stand up for what you believe in and I’m all for that. There are a lot of things I get upset about when it comes to politics, injustices or just really shocking decisions. But as far as I’m aware… I don’t have the right to then label millions of people a racist, facist, dumb, homophobic, bigot because I didn’t get my way.

The older generation literally fought to have the privilege to vote.

I also want to clear up this misconception that… “no one under the age of 35 voted OUT.” We did. A lot of us. I keep seeing so many people just blame the older generation for leaving the EU and say things like “they’re only going to be alive for a few more years so why did they mess it up for the rest of us.” Excuse me? People died so that they could have a voice too, probably people like their best-friends, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, sons who fought in wars, battles… so why should they count as lesser human beings just because they chose a different stance to you?

I probably wrote out 20 different statuses, messages, comments to try and combat the abuse against those who voted OUT… but I erased them all. Because let’s be honest, it’s pointless doing that on social media. You just throw fuel on an already burning inferno. So I wanted to take some time and really think through what I had seen and experienced. And then write a post about it when I was a little less emotionally driven… Where people could choose to read this or not, and it wouldn’t be seen as an attack against just one individual.

I’m honestly still shocked at the kind of behaviour I’ve witnessed from people. I’d full on expect to be slapped in the face if I had said even half of those things to any of them. Why is it okay to do it behind the safety of a screen? It’s not. Do I agree 100% with the Leave campaign, the propaganda, the politicians, no. My decision was based on what I see as the better future after all the dust has settled. And let’s be honest… I can’t really be against immigration since I immigrated myself. So I’m not jumping on that bandwagon even though I want out of the EU.

I want to close this out on a positive note, because I’ve seen a handful of people write apologetic comments and statuses to those who they may have offended by the name calling and the disgusting generalisation. I tip my hat to you, and completely respect you for that.

Finally…

If you don’t agree with my views, opinions, stances, choices.. whatever. That’s okay, I don’t mind. I don’t mind that you have different views than me or that you’re vocal about them on social media. I’m always open to learning especially from people holding opposing opinions. But please don’t tar and feather me, and assume I’m some stupid, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, Nazi just because I chose a different stance to you. 

Future Esther