Why we should all have a voice

I feel ashamed.

Usually I enjoy being a Brit living abroad. It opens conversations and feels like there is always something new to learn about the surrounding culture. I feel like a visitor and a guest, except maybe at tax time.

In election year the US is doing a fair job of dividing over issues, opinions and personalities. But Britain ('Great' doesn't feel appropriate right now, 'United Kingdom' even less so) seems to be setting new standards. When a party leader acts like a brat at an EU council meeting I feel ashamed to be from the same country. When the fear of immigrants and the diversity they bring (aside from the economic benefits) becomes a major factor in the nation's decision making, I'm sad for my homeland.

I'm also ashamed to say that I didn't vote. It often feels strange to vote on decisions in a country where I haven't lived for over four years, but that's no excuse. The global and long-term impacts are becoming more clear and the campaign lies more obvious, and I regret now not taking part.

It's also made me think more about having a voice online, through pictures and through words. Most of us have hundreds if not thousands of people that read, however briefly, what we post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn or Medium. It can be good just to connect, share and have a little fun (and no doubt waste some time too), but there's also a huge opportunity to join the conversation about stuff that matters. Not to shout, gloat, preach or claim to have all the facts, but to challenge and question and share wisdom when and where we find it.

And England losing to Iceland at soccer? Well, yes, I'm a little ashamed of that too.