No matter what side of the political aisle you may sit at there’s always going to be times in your life where the government may have stressed you out, but for me, right now seems like a giant ball of stress in my chest.
In the past few years, differing political factions have both been caught up in acts of aggression against the other side and it is beginning to remind me of a time in my early life as I watched my government start to lock people up for being like me.
I was born in Scotland, in a village where 98% of people were Catholic and the other 2% were married to a Catholic. Outside of that village around 98% of the people were Protestant and the other percentage just as Catholics was made up of the very few who’d moved for love.
I never could have imagined what it would have been like actually being raised in Northern Ireland, I cannot imagine being behind the wall they built, or the fear that you would have been in going for a loaf of bread.
But I watched it, in my own little corner of Scotland. No, we didn’t have checkpoints, but we did have bricks thrown at our bus windows on the way to high school.
It got so bad we had to take backroads for four years, I didn’t see soldiers on the street but I did face an angry mob as a practice orange walk happened by me in a Celtic top in September.
It also happened to Protestants who had to stay in my area, one day a bus filled with orange walkers had stopped in my village to ask for directs only to be greeted by an angry mob.
The current climate of Politics has become the new Religion, the new identity that we all crave, the side we wish to be on. I’m not saying it has replaced Religion but it has become its own way for all of us to identify the enemy.
But if we’ve learned anything from recent history it’s that using someone’s ideals as a way to discriminate against another faction is not the best way to go about things.
I may be totally catastrophizing but I believe that this will only get worse unless we actually talk to one another. Now in my area, there is still a big orange walk and occasional trouble.
Only a few stragglers remain because my generation began to make friends and mingle with the other side. I always laugh at that scene in Derry Girls where the Catholic girl’s school and Protestant boys school meet and have an assembly as that happened with us.
The Catholic School and the Protestant School came together for a few assemblies to stop sectarian violence against one another, the last two years in High School meant the main roads and shared events because of this.
Suddenly we saw how not so different we were, we grew up in different villages or suburbs but that didn’t mean we didn’t have the same shared experiences and we began to heal.
I suggest we look at the other side in the eye and find our common interest, it might save a lot of pain.
Thanks for reading,