Hope and fear have been my constant companions in the last month. A heady but mutually exclusive pair of emotions have occupied my thoughts – in a battle where only one will achieve victory. I find myself shaking like a leaf at odd times of the day and night. My senses have been unquiet partners in the continuing search to find the answers to the demands that daily life makes of me.
On September 18th, I will make the most important decision in my brief sojourn on this earth. It is a decision that will affect not only me, but as yet unborn generations of children. On that day Scotland will take control of its own future. For the blink of an eye, in the long history of this dear, northern nation we, the people, will stand as arbiters of our own destiny.
4.3 million citizens will enter polling booths across the land as rulers of their own country. For one day the people of Scotland will be sovereign masters of the soil on which they stand. I want to savour that day, when I feel I will be a citizen and not a subject. I want to breath in the free Scottish air that is shared by the people with whom – and for whom – I live my life.
However, as the shades of night approach, the polling staff will quietly close the doors on a day as meaningful as any in the preceding three centuries. In the remaining hours of night, there will fall upon this beloved nation a terrible tension. That tension will be borne of the burden of three hundred years of a history that has long encumbered us. It slowed the steps of long dead generations who were denied the chance to express an opinion on who should have been their masters.
In the hours that follow, servants of the people will separate pencilled crosses into two columns of hope and desolation. They will divide the nation into those who voted to keep matters of life and death within the domain of the Scots and those who decided that, after all, it would be much better if someone else decided their destiny.
It is this fact – a fact that has frightened me the more I have dwelled upon it – that has kept me perturbed and perplexed through much of my waking hours. It is the dread thought that fear itself will overwhelm decent people who are desperate to do the right thing.
In the last six months, honest people have been besieged by their southern masters with a callousness that would shame a thousand demons. We have been told that we are too limited, too hemmed in by circumstance, too uninformed, too weak-willed and too ill-prepared for the vicissitudes that fate flings at us to cope on our own. This litany of lies has been delivered by the malevolent tongues of serpents who smile and pretend that they also love and respect us – for aren’t we just like them?
But for those who want us to be better together: wrapped in the suffocating embrace of those who will not admit that we have grown tall and strong, I have a message for you. I will enter that polling booth on the morning of Thursday September 18th, 2014 with an unbreakable and unshakeable belief in my own abilities and the abilities of the people of Scotland who I love and respect.
I will mark my cross for those who are to come after me, the unborn generations who deserve the chance to live in a country that will be defined by tolerance, enlightenment, culture, intelligence, respect and a core belief that the only duty we have is to improve the lives of those around us. I will not deny the people of Scotland the right to live and die by their own efforts.
I cannot say what the future will bring. Those who assert that they have this gift are liars and madmen. All that I know is that – on Thursday September 18th, I will wake up as the most powerful human on earth, for I will have freedom in my own hands. On that and every succeeding day I will live my life in the knowledge that I did not succumb to fear. I will live my life in the knowledge that a life unlived is no life at all. Freedom is already resting in our own hearts. Let it remain there for as long as we remain together on this earth. Vote YES.