We can’t just turn our backs on Trump and hope he’ll go away
06 July 2018
"I have no intention of even giving him the time to march”. “Just ignore him and he’ll go away”. Among the enthusiastic responses to our call for people to march against Trump, we’ve also had a few along these lines. It would be a reasonable response to a run-of-the-mill attention seeker, but when that man is also an out-and out-racist and the most powerful man in the world, we can’t just turn our backs and hope he’ll go away.
Trump’s abuses are so numerous it’s hard to know where to start. He’s stirred up hatred and xenophobia with his ‘Muslim ban’, promised to push up drug prices for the NHS through a US-UK trade deal, walked away from global climate talks, labelled Haiti and other developing nations as ‘sh**hole countries’, refused to condemn white supremacist violence in Charlottesville and much more.
A global trend
But Trump’s politics aren’t just isolated to the US. His racist, authoritarian populism is part of a global trend, twisting genuine grievances about the way the global economy works into hatred and peddling racism to get into power. in the Phillipines, Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency promising to kill tens of thousands of criminals, and urging people to kill drug addicts. He’s since followed through on that.
Last month, Italy’s populist Five Star Movement formed a coalition with the far-right Northern League to govern the country. They’ve since refused port to migrant rescue boats in the Mediterranean and started a ‘register’ of Roma people. Trump’s victory is bolstering the populist right across the world.
If you tolerate this
Of course, Trump has to be defeated primarily in the US - and US social movements are stepping up to the plate. But they’ve also been encouraging us to greet him with huge protests when he comes here. Under Theresa May, the UK is a key Trump ally, so it’s important that he can’t waltz in without significant opposition. Luckily tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands will be flooding to London on Friday 13 July to march against him.
To ignore Trump’s odious politics is to tolerate them, and we do that at our peril. We would do well to heed the words of Black liberationist author James Baldwin’s in his famous 1965 Cambridge speech: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”.