So: massive stupidity, an inchoate, unthinking drive to flee into some imagined, nonexistent past, and an extraordinary amount of manipulation and intimidation that finally imploded on itself.
It no longer even seems interesting to me to pretend that everyone has a reasonable opinion – it's clear that many who voted for Britain leaving the EU were confused, deceived, or simply stupid. Certainly many with little long-term awareness – this was a great victory for Murdoch, more than anyone. Which tells you about the structure of power these days.
For me – and yes, I am furious and disgusted – the primary associations and meanings are not only structural chaos, financial disaster, conflict, restriction, loss of possibilities, and even increasing potential for moving toward a new era of war.
They are also that cluster of personal anxieties that I associate with poverty, illness, instability, and living in places that are either too expensive to afford, or too foreign for one's rights to be established: where things may be okay one year, but cancelled or denied the next. The instability of life in a more narrowly constituted nation, that doesn't have a broad base of support and flexibility across a number of borders.
So, for me: temporal points in San Francisco and Los Angeles when money fell apart or health care was denied; or later in Berlin, Hong Kong, Sydney, when government departments told me: you're not our problem, you're just some foreigner....
Now, very often things have gone well for me – even a late rent payment was almost okay, and the pills eventually came through the mail.
But a few times larger disasters would hit, and security, home and money would evaporate, and I'd start thinking: exactly what are the transitional steps that lead to living on the street?...
But I've never actually had to do that, so: lucky me.
Small pleasures: they keep us going, don't they – sometimes through an entire life: like the fussy apartment of an elderly concentration camp survivor in the Village in New York, where there is a shelf of small plates that were hand-painted in an Austrian factory that was destroyed in a 1943 bombing raid...
Are the plates saṃsāra? Or the memory? Or the great political decisions and battles that led to those memories, this place?
All of them are, of course...)
However, I remain acutely aware of a substantial difference between a protected environment, one that you expect will remain protected (we arrange research trips, climb aboard flights without thinking about visas or permissions, focus on the charm of a city rather than the border we can't cross – and if you break your arm you go to the local hospital), as opposed to a more uncertain environment where you need to apply for rights and permissions.
And you may be given those rights, or not; and the decision may change because of the elections next month, or perhaps something goes wrong and the local police decide they'd rather that you go to the airport, then...
Now, political apologists, and certain everyday people, will insist – usually in ways that try to shut down the discussion, so that they can control the anxiety of others – that Everything Will Be Fine, that you will just apply and it will probably come through, it practically always does, it will only take six to eight weeks or maybe ten at the outside, it will get handled.
I think those people are unaware how a life that is lived contingently – that is, one where the world rocks and spins in an uncertain fashion, one where stability and that which can be defined as 'home' aren't really present: one where you can find your balance, but you have to frequently adjust your stance to keep it, and your muscles have a slight twanging tension because you are always ready to leap or roll to the side when something big starts barrelling down towards you – is itself an endless ache, a drain of energy and focus of anxiety.
Thus, for me at least: a drug-dazed Berlin landlord whose new boyfriend wants me out, right now, in the middle of the night, with everything I own; a San Francisco apartment in a wrecked neighbourhood, where the guy across the hall who has been doing more crystal every week vanishes one night and never returns, and the schizophrenic guy upstairs pounds on the floor in the night when his psychotic visions become unbearable; or unpacking in a beautiful, sunny apartment in Hong Kong, as droves of foreigners close British businesses and pack up the money, sell houses, and fly away, while daily rumours of Beijing's power shifts, in the dark shadow of the malevolently sharp-edged Bank of China skyscraper, filter down through a chaotic network of Putonghua, Cantonese, English...
Most of the time, it's not the individual disasters that are tough – though when they happen, at intervals of a few years, it can be hard to recover.
It's that constant slight tension, that sense of not being taken care of – the sense that, for years or decades or the rest of your life, you will need to watch where and when the wind shifts, and relocate yourself to corners that seem more protected than others.
And that is a tiring way to exist....
That, I think, is why I'm so angry: I know perfectly well that it can be exhausting to hold oneself ready for loss, collapse, and the evaporation of support systems.
It's a lousy way to live, really; modern governments get away with this far too much. Perhaps, for someone like Murdoch or Cameron, it's useful because it keeps the public perpetually distracted – a little fear, a little uncertainty, is useful for keeping people tractable.
But it stinks. I honestly thought I was mostly done with that kind of life – it appears that may not be true...
so: toss the British passport in a drawer, use the American passport, and start finding out how to get to practice or work in other countries – get information on applying for citizenship in those places – and see how many years you have to wait until stability is once again available...
at a price.