The whole world was fascinated last month by Brexit: the vote in Britain to leave the European Union. Would they leave? Wouldn’t they?
But to me, the most fascinating part was what happened the next day. Once the vote had taken place and the (bare) majority had voted to leave the EU, those who had voted to leave began to learn the real truth of what they had chosen, and realized they had been duped.
Yes, duped. Because the leaders on the “leave” side immediately disclaimed the promises they made. Ooops! they said! No, we can’t really apply the billions of dollars we send each year to the EU to healthcare. We didn’t really mean that! We lied to you because we wanted you to vote our way!
How could those politicians make all those promises they never intended to keep? How did the majority of a citizenry fall for it? Why, now, do many of those citizens who voted to leave the EU wish they could take back their votes, because they have changed their minds?
Brits can blame themselves – period – for not being smarter about reality. They voted for something that wasn’t true or possible because they believed and shared what they heard and read, never vetting possibilities or veracity. They Facebook-liked, and shared, and re-tweeted, and Instagramed, and discussed in pubs, all that misinformation, disinformation, political venom, disdain and hostility – never fact-checking, never discerning the truth.
They simply passed on messages that supported their own wishes or philosophies – even when they were lies.
… Exactly like we Americans are doing today with our presidential election and its issues.
It had quite the ripple effect. Because they shared all those lies and vitriol, the world became a more dangerous and unstable place. (Just what happened to your 401K the week after Brexit? My point is made.)
So what does this have to do with health and patient advocates?