Let’s start with some first principles: Trump is literally not my president. I didn’t have a vote in the election, as I’m not an American nor do I live there. And yes, I know exactly how it feels to have foreigners tell you what they don’t like about your country or your government.
And I try to avoid doing both, because lately the UK is no shining example of tolerance and love. Or even logic, due to the catastrophe that was the Brexit vote. ‘People in glass houses…’ and all that.
I also try to avoid overloading this blog with commentary on current affairs, as it can be quite divisive. I tend to keep that for debates on Twitter. Or over coffee, in person. So if you’re disinterested by this topic, feel free to skip to the next post.
That said, America appears to have appointed a narcissistic, unstable, petty, ego-driven, volatile and self-confessed sex-offender as president. I emphasise appointed as Trump lost the popular vote and the American electoral system still managed to get him into the White House.
And America may well have doe so in the past. Nixon was not dissimilar to Trump and I’m sure every president since has leaked their own preferences, biases and irrational needs all over the Oval Office. But, I think the difference is that they were surrounded by advisors and officials who could set them straight and ensure no damage was done to the office of the President by a temporary office-holder.
So let’s be clear: I don’t believe US Presidents are automatically examples of grit, determination, logic and wisdom as soon as they win the election. They’re human, just like you and me.
The difference here is we have an outlier on most aspects of human behaviour and attitudes in the White House, who has chosen to surround himself with similar outliers. Or extremists, if you will. People whose views on humanity, society and equality are as far to the right of any spectrum as you might find.
In the weeks leading up to the inauguration, I read a veritable chorus of commentary asking for us to ‘give Trump the benefit of the doubt’, telling us ‘the office will impact him’ and that we should ‘take him seriously, not literally’.
We’re just over a week into the Trump Presidency and I’m not going to keep quiet any longer. Yep, he’s not my president, but America is no normal country. Its decisions impact the rest of the world and as we can see, his executive orders thus far have done just that.
He has succeeded in offending and alienating his to closest neighbours with continued inflammatory talk of the ‘wall’ with Mexico and by instigating a ban on entry to the US by citizens (even green card holders and those with joint-nationality) from a selection of mainly Muslim countries. Except, of course, those where he has business interests.
You see? He is quite literally implementing the campaign slogans and it’s only a week into his term. Christ on a bike, what else is he going to do?
He has failed to share his tax returns or to formally divest himself of his vast and complex business affairs. He’s running the White House like a members’ club, giving jobs to friends and family, no more qualified to hold such important offices than you or I. And in some cases, probably less…
This is fascism in action.
Think about it. He’s pretty much mirroring what every nationalist dictator in history has done. He’s promised to rebuild the country, he’s blaming ‘others’ for the downfall of the country, he’s attacking the very system of government he’s supposed to be leading and he’s spreading lies and disinformation about allies and political foes alike. People don’t know what to believe and they’re afraid. He’s using his executive power to implement a nationalist agenda before our very eyes.
He and his administration announced their Muslim travel ban on Holocaust Memorial Day, while also refusing to specifically mention Jews in their press release. It’s like they’re waving their intolerance in our faces and laughing about it.
I’m not worried that someone whose politics I disagree with is in a position of power. I’m worried that such an unstable and intolerant person has their hands on the levers of power, is busy making new enemies and has the military power to end life on earth.
And to all those American commentators who vilified me on Twitter with their talk of systemic ‘checks and balances’: where are you checks and balances now? Your system of government and electoral method has let you down, allowing a grotesquely in qualified man to take over your country and set it back at least a decade in just seven days.
Now let me tell you what this isn’t. This isn’t me issuing a blanket condemnation of all Americans, or even all the Americans who voted for Trump. Looking at Brexit, we can easily see why angry people use a vote to make a point, without a thought for the consequences.
I’ve been to the US enough times to know that it’s as varied in terms of people as anywhere else. It’s full of talented, thoughtful and broad-minded people. People who more frightened of this development that I could ever be. They’re out there right now, protesting at airports.
What I’m trying to say here is that this isn’t politics as normal. This is one of those times where people need to set aside political differences and stand up for what’s essentially right. Banning and abandoning people purely on the basis of their religion is not government-as-normal. It is fascism.
Our own unelected Prime Minister not only held Trump by the hand in public, she also invited him for a state visit to the UK later this year. This gives him legitimacy and is nothing more than a futile attempt to build some kind of relationship with Trump to offset the economic damage that will come with the kind of ‘hard Brexit’ May is pushing for. She’s emphasising trade and cooperation over human rights.
I’m embarrassed for the UK, especially as countries all around protested the travel ban openly. People need to know that this is not what the majority of people in the UK believe, no matter how appallingly the Prime Minister has behaved.
Remember also, that this is the woman who, when Home Secretary, had trucks drive around areas with suspected high number of illegal immigrants with a ‘Go Home’ message written on the side. And that after fawning over Trump, she flew straight to Turkey to sign an arms deal with a similarly unhinged nationalist clown.
If Trump comes over here, I’ll be out there protesting his presence, his behaviour and his anti-human stance. The man is a charlatan, a bigot and unfit for office – any office. His past behaviour marks him out as singularly unfit to be President and no seal of office or plethora of officials or machine of government is going to change my mind on this.
He’s had his chance and he’s blown it.
Who’s with me? Who’s going to protest in London if/when he flies in?