Still Dreaming Seriously
Hello my friends,
Today is the 13th day of the 12th month of 2014. For my friends in the US, this is 12-13-14 and some of them have already told me they are expecting a message today— so I’ve chosen to take advantage of one more number pattern even though here in Europe (I’m writing this in Bucharest during two weeks of working here) we write today as 13-12-14.
Once again I mourn the loss of those twelve wonderful years from 01-01-01 to 12-12-12 when I could use the same date for both sides of the Atlantic.
So this year we have different dates—and yet we can still talk with each other. That’s the way I feel about the aftermath of the independence referendum in Scotland. We have differences and we still talk with each other.
Many of you have asked me how I’m feeling after the referendum. One response is the chorus of Not Lie Down, a song by Scotland’s Dougie MacLean: You can fall but you must not lie down.
For a not-yet-independent nation, Scotland has a lot of national anthems. One of the more recent contenders is Dougie MacLean’s
Caledonia. A couple hundred of us sang it along with Dougie at the launch of the Yes Campaign in May 2012. And I watched 12,000 people sing it with Dougie a couple of weeks ago as Nicola Sturgeon completed her tour as Scotland’s new First Minister.
If you don’t know Caledonia (and even if you do) you can follow this link to Dougie’s home page to see and hear him singing it: http://www.dougiemaclean.com
The Caledonia lyrics have taken on new resonance this year. So I thought I’d share the lyrics (from Dougie’s website) with you and then share what resonates for me.
I don't know if you can see the changes that have come over me
In the past year some changes have definitely come over me.
The last time I actively participated in a political campaign was when McGovern lost the US presidency in 1972. As I sat in a training group on the night of that election, I kept saying that I wished I had done more. My friend Nancy Fox asked me a memorable question: “If McGovern were winning tonight, would you be taking as much credit for his victory as you are taking for his defeat?”
So as I gradually became more involved in the Yes Campaign, I made one clear commitment to myself: This time I will make sure that I’ll never say that I could have done more. I moved from doing something every week to doing something every day. I spent the last few weeks sending a nightly email to a group of fifty people who were leafleting, or canvassing, or staffing a stall. I thanked each person who had shown up that day and I then encouraged others to show up the next day. I was still knocking on doors to get out the vote up to an hour before the polls closed. Then Rosie and I drove to Perth and spent all night at the count— watching the devastating result happening right in front of us.
In these last few days I've been afraid that I might drift away
The next few days—and weeks— were tough. I agreed completely with Lily, my granddaughter, who was in tears the next day—like the rest of us. She was asking, “Why wouldn’t people want to run their own country?”
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs, that make me think about where I come from
Lily helped her younger sister Fran recover—together they went to the shop to get some chocolate and then they sang “Flower of Scotland” loudly. I too have been singing songs and telling stories to keep the energy flowing.
That's the reason why I seem so far away today
I apologise for having seemed so far away from many of you over the past year. I was pouring most of my time, money, and energy into the campaign.
I have moved and I've kept on moving, proved the points that I needed proving
We have indeed kept on moving. After we began recovering from the devastation of the result—all the more devastating because we thought we were going to win— many of us began behaving in a mysterious way. We began to join the political parties that supported Yes. All three of those parties have quadrupled in size since the referendum. Clearly we are continuing the campaign.