For better or worse, Britain decides to leave EU

Brexit becomes official despite years of drawn-out exiting process

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At 11 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, the world turned upside down. Well, Britain’s world anyway.

After months of decisions and votes, Britain officially left the European Union after being a part of it since 1973, causing much controversy amongst the citizens of the United Kingdom.

Now I admit, everything I know about Brexit has mostly come from following British actors on Instagram. And from what I could tell, it was simply a significant decision that not everyone was happy with. So I decided to do some research after I heard about the decision on Friday.

According to an article published by Vox, Britain became worried about its involvement in the EU during the 2008 recession. America was hit hard during this recession, but every country who uses the euro as currency was also hit as the recession began to cause numerous problems with the eurozone system, so much so that it was thought to have the potential to collapse. While the UK does not use the euro, they were negatively impacted by being a part of the EU.

After that Britain believed that the EU only wanted to expand its power and feared being roped into something similar to the euro problem. Just looking at this, it is easy to see why they decided to leave.

At the same time, the controversy continued and was part of the reason it took so long to make a decision on Brexit. The EU has control over most of Europe’s trade routes, allowing free trade in between most countries, which obviously helps keep the economy going. So the question now is, what comes next?

Now I am not a British citizen. Nor have I ever been to Britain, and no matter how much I would like to go, odds are I will never even step foot in the country. But as a history and journalism in the public interest double minor, I like to pay attention to events on the news that have a significant impact on the world. Brexit was something I watched at least a little bit.

Now there are moments in a person’s life that if they also pay attention and watch the news for significant events like those mentioned above, that they can look back on later in life and realize they lived through history. It might not even have to be later in life. One example that I’m sure everyone can see that with, even if they do not watch the news, is the current impeachment trials. But I fully believe that Brexit is another one of those moments. 

As a college student who has absolutely no knowledge of economics and how running a country works, I have no credibility to say what I think should come next after Brexit day, as I really have no idea what the country should do. A great deal of British citizens might be feeling the same way, whether or not they hoped it would happen or not.

To be honest, I expected to see a lot more on Brexit on Instagram from the actors and actresses that I follow than I did. I think I saw one post that day. That post was simply a picture of a man sitting on a branch of a tree. The man sawed on that branch that he sat on, the branch including a picture of a British flag across it. Only after looking rather closely did I realize that the man would end up falling to the ground after he finally successfully sawed through the branch. The picture had no caption, but it did not really need one. I stopped to read through some of the comments, and through them I was given insight into the fact that the controversy still continues, even after the decision has been made.

Sometimes people may think that American politics are a mess, and that other countries must look at us sitting over here with questionable people in charge and laugh. That thought has crossed my mind multiple times over the past few years. But if Brexit shows non-British citizens anything, it’s that America is not the only place with governmental issues.

It seems to me that a lot of times when there is something that has to do with independence in some form or another, a lot of the time it involves Great Britain in some way. It may turn out that it was a very bad decision on the British government’s part. Or it may turn out that it was the best thing they could’ve done. It all depends on what the country does next. Sounds sort of like America today, doesn’t it?

So while I am not in any way affected by what happens in Britain, besides the things I see on social media or the news, I know I will be paying more attention to what comes next after Brexit. There are some moments that one can tell will go down as a notable moment in history. Brexit was one of those moments.