For the past couple of months – and I’m willing to bet that this is true for almost every Scottish person who has Facebook – my newsfeed has been overflowing with posts about the upcoming independence referendum.
We’ve seen posts about “yes,” and posts about “no,” and even posts about “maybe.”
We’ve seen posts about war, posts about bombs, posts about borders and posts about changing.
We’ve seen posts about banks, posts about jobs, posts about coins and posts about staying.
We’ve seen posts from those who want everyone to know which way they’re voting and why. We’ve seen posts from those who want to convince people to switch to the other side.
Comment sections have become platforms for discussion between “yes” and “no,” where facts are stated and links are pasted and we declare which way we’ll vote.
Debates take place on our screens and in our bars, in our offices and in our cars. The momentum travels through us and inspires us to educate ourselves about the possibilities that lie before us. A fever grips us and we are aflame with passion because we love and care for our country and its people.
In our minds, we hold our thoughts. In our hearts, we hold our hope. In our hands, we hold the power to decide our future.
This, all of this, is why I fell in love with politics. It’s why I became a member of a political party. It’s why I volunteered at local elections in my hometown.
It’s why I’m deeply disappointed that I can’t vote in the Scottish independence referendum.
I chose to pursue a chance to do the job I love in another country and although I have only been here for a year – with a short-term visa – I am deemed ineligible to vote in the referendum because I will not be living in Scotland on 18th September 2014.
I could write pages upon pages about that issue but instead I’ll say this: your vote is yours and yours alone. Respect the opinions of others but have the confidence to believe in your decision.
Ultimately, what is important is not whether you choose “yes” or “no.” It’s that you have the chance to steer your country towards the future you envision for it – and for you.