We Need to Talk About Trump
It’s almost not worth me even writing about Trump (for that is the only name he needs, like Madonna, but I’m not sure they’ll be sitting down to dinner together anytime soon). Search Google for ‘Trump’ and it will take half a second to return over a billion results – the Internet is literally awash with Trump, and that doesn’t sound good whichever way you slice it. My two pence won’t add anything to the weight of opinion that is already out there, but it almost seems neglectful not to contribute another dissenting voice to the full horror of what is already happening.
Shia LaBoeuf may be flying the unity flag with his #HeWillNotDivideUs ‘performance art’ thing, but in a week when it’s apparently ok to be a Nazi but not ok if you grab his scarf, it seems we are a world more divided than ever. In much the same way as Brexit over here, the fact that the previously unthinkable has actually happened over there only serves to highlight how great and underestimated people’s differences are.
Speaking of Brexit, Theresa May, fresh from alienating the whole of Europe, found time in her busy schedule to hop on a plane and cosy up to Donald J in the hope that he’ll let us wangle a trade deal with America – which may or may not mean massive multinational corporations running roughshod over the NHS. But that probably won’t happen *nervous cough*. It was a nauseating show of desperation that makes it obvious she now intends to suck up to the US in order to maintain the ‘special relationship’. It’s as if Trump finally agreed go on a date with a woman he doesn’t really like in the hope she’ll end up paying for dinner. Of course, that’s a poor analogy, as Trump doesn’t like ANY women, unless they’re entirely subservient to him and/or within groping distance. I’d stop holding hands with him Theresa, you don’t know where they’ve been.
We now find ourselves in some kind of nightmarish dystopian vision of the future, where women’s reproductive rights are curtailed, you’re totally screwed if you’re in any way considered a ‘minority’, and countries are literally walling themselves off from each other to keep out potential rapists. I’m fairly sure The Wall couldn’t be less necessary – no Mexicans in their right mind would rather be in Trump’s America, and the US has plenty enough shady characters of its own to worry about first, least of all the President himself.
And the most terrifying thing is that all the batshit crazy stuff he’s already done is just the start.
Trump has already, with one swish of a pen, signed away support for organisations working in undeveloped countries helping desperate women and girls to access abortions, or even to get advice about family planning in general. So far, so abhorrent. But even more nauseating is the outright enthusiasm he and Vice-President Mike Pence have for the pro-life movement, with Pence speaking at the March For Life rally in Washington on Friday. Abortion is not taken lightly by anyone, especially the women making that choice, but that is what it should be – a choice. These men would strike away all women’s choice in a heartbeat given the opportunity – and they will work hard to engineer that opportunity, you can be sure of that.
All of which is why those who criticised the global Women’s Marches need to take a long hard look at whatever their problem is. Yes, I’m looking at you Piers Morgan. It can be hard to imagine from our privileged Western perspective just how oppressed women continue to be in other parts of the world – and how easily given a few simple policy changes that could apply closer to home too. Irish women living under draconian abortion laws can tell you that.
The Marches weren’t about privileged white women whinging about stuff that doesn’t affect us, they were about a huge cross-section of society flying the flag against a global trend of women being treated as second class citizens. It is not about ‘rabid feminists’ calling for the emasculation of men, it is a battle cry against the institutionalised misogyny of a group of suited businessmen signing away the rights of underprivileged women half a world away. Suddenly the rabid feminists have a point.
I don’t want to make this all a women’s issue, because it isn’t. The backward and disturbing views Trump holds against the LGBT community, ethnic minorities, disabled people, torture (sorry, ‘enhanced interrogation’), even bloody SCIENCE, highlight the sort of Executive Orders we can expect in future, as he strives to create his twisted idea of a utopia conforming entirely to his ideals. The man is a dangerous narcissist of the highest order, surrounded by a team of equally dangerous bigots, hoping for maximum personal gain while pretending climate change doesn’t exist and terrorism can be stopped by arbitrarily telling refugees from countries he has no business interest in not to bother coming.
Trump’s blinkered quest to Make America Great Again has already involved heartless xenophobia, rampant misogyny, and a total obsession with his own popularity. But then we already knew that would be the case. So if he’s doing exactly the kind of stuff we thought he would, why keep complaining about it? Why not just roll over and accept it?
Well, for one because that’s not how democracy works. But also because if we don’t speak out against the injustices that don’t directly affect us, sooner or later the powers that be will get to something we personally care about. And because if we don’t object to the whim of a madman, what kind of future do our children face?
My voice alone won’t make a difference, but a combined vocal opposition to letting Trump control women’s bodies and who comes through his borders, to letting Theresa May just throw the UK under a bus with a big fat lie about NHS funding on the side, or to any number of other bad governmental decisions we’re just supposed to accept, is the only way we can stand up for ourselves. And, importantly, to stand up for those unable to stand up for themselves. The heartening display of support for refugees at US airports or mayors across the country proclaiming their cities to be welcoming to immigrants is a clear message that he wont have it all his own way.
So I need to talk about Trump. If we value tolerance, acceptance and respect for humanity at all, we all need to.