Today I announced in class, “Today is a very important day.” My students first guessed that it was my birthday — which it is not — and eventually told them that Scotland was having it’s long-awaited referendum on independence. The last few minutes of my class became a miniature civics lesson as I explained the difference between an election and a referendum.
“What do you think it’s going to be?” one of my students asked.
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not in Scotland,” I answered.
Now they all think I’m Scottish.
I don’t have a say in Scotland’s future, but I do care about it. I understand, to an extent — the extent that an empathetic ex-pat historian can have — why Scotland wants to be independent. I also understand the concerns of the Better Together campaign. So here I am, staying up past my bedtime, waiting on tenterhooks as the results for each county are announced, messaging with Lola back and forth, like we did for the last two American presidential elections. I wave my Scottish flag not in support of the Yes campaign, but in support of Scotland herself, whatever she decides.
Edit, 19 Sept 2014, 15 min past midnight: Scotland has voted no, to stay in the United Kingdom. I now breathe a sigh of relief, will toast Scotland’s future with a sip of whisky, and then go to bed.