Of Scots and Scotty

Are you an innie or an outie?

You may not be sure. Oh, you may know most of the inside jokes, and speak the language, but are you really “in”? And some of us are so much on the outside that we don’t even know there is an outside!

We work hard at determining who belongs, though. Whether they are wearing the wrong clothes, or involved in the wrong hobby or living in the wrong areas of the country (or county, or town, we’ve developed ways of sorting out those ‘in the know’ and those who are clueless. Even those of us who see ourselves as progressive and inclusive have our ‘preferences’.

Even geeks like me -who were habitually not on the inside of many popular groups- look snidely at the wannabees. We’re the ones who know that Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scotty” and Joe Friday never uttered “Just the facts, ma’am” (and lest you think I’m only geeky and obsessed when it comes to television, it’s not “Lead on, MacDuff” either!).

To be fair, some of this is quite natural. Birds of a feather, and all of that. But in so many ways it is destructive. Churches split over who is invited to the Table, and communities break into upheaval when it’s clear certain individuals are targeted based on color or race or creed or orientation. Are you in? Are you out?

The destructive part comes not so much from the decision as it does from who gets to decide. When the power to determine ‘who sits where’ is in the hands of anyone but the person who wants to sit… the innie/outie game is played, and what follows ranges from oppression to war.

Scotland (home of the aforementioned Engineer with beaming up abilities) goes to a vote tomorrow to decide if it wants to be in, or out. I really don’t have an opinion (and since I don’t live in Scotland, that’s probably okay) but the root causes for this vote reminds me of similar actions elsewhere in the world. On some level aren’t we all asking where we belong, and to whom we belong? Aren’t we the one that should decide what lunch table we sit at, or where on the bus we’re most comfortable?

Count me amongst those who don’t care where the eventual vote lands…. but also amongst those who are grateful that it is the Scots themselves who will make this choice. The right to self-determination is a rare and incredible thing to behold.

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