I’m not American, but that hasn’t stopped me from being quite involved with American politics this past year or so. It also hasn’t prevented me from witnessing the slew of comments from Trump supporters and even white, complacent Democrats, demanding that Trump’s opposers just give him a chance: “He’s your President now, show some respect and let him get on with the job”.
Now, being British, Trump truly is not my president. The United States presidency is however, the most important global position. Donald J. Trump is now the world leader of the number one Superpower, capable, alongside an overwhelming Republican senate, of making decisions to affect the entire world. Trump’s lack of regard for climate change is one such example of a policy which could affect us all, and I believe that as global citizens we all reserve the right to criticise him.
Criticise I will, respect him I will not, sit down and be quiet? I refuse to.
We saw all we needed to on Donald’s campaign trail, to understand what kind of a person he is. An abuser, a serial sex offender, a racist, a misogynist, a pathological liar, an enemy of the LGBTQIA+ community, an Islamaphobe and ableist.
He doesn’t get any more chances, he went through them all a long time ago. Back in 1973 when he refused to rent his properties to black people, when he allegedly raped multiple women including his wife Ivana, in 2005 when he bragged to Billy Bush about being able to grab women by their genitals and kiss them against their will, in 2011 when he started perpetuating the racist birther claims about then-President Obama. Tell me, was Donald himself being respectful to his president then?
People don’t earn respect, they lose it. Every human inherently deserves a basic level of respect until they show themselves to be a person who does not deserve it any longer. Donald J. Trump lost his right to respect when he chose to never give any to anybody else, and him becoming president of the most powerful nation on Earth does not magically erase the ugly character we know he has and does not grant him a free pass and clean slate.
Instead of keeping our mouths closed, left-wingers worldwide need to constantly oppose this administration and its leader. We need more marches, more protests, more demonstrations, more petitioning, more noise, more digging deep and holding Donald J. Trump accountable. The women’s march on Saturday was a great start, and I pray that the people who showed up then will continue to show up over the next four years. For the black lives they’d much rather shoot or imprison than respect. For the LGBTQIA+ lives whose existence they wish to deny. For the immigrants they deem unworthy and undeserving of a fair chance. For the Muslims they demonise for reasons beyond their control. For the disabled people they’d much rather ignore and allow to die. And for women whose bodies they’d like to exploit and whose rights they’d like to relinquish. We will be loud and angry, just like the very people who are insisting we keep quiet, have been for the last 8 years.
When Barack Obama won his second election in 2012, Donald Trump took to Twitter to encourage the exact sort of behaviour he now laments is unfair to him: “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”
I think it’s rather clear that when the tables were turned, Republicans didn’t respect their president. They perpetuated racist lies, insisting that he was born in Kenya and secretly a practicing Muslim (and it would be totally okay if he was), just because of the colour of his skin. So why is the left not free to do the same? Trump supporters, is freedom of speech not part of your first amendment right? It’s interesting how the Constitution only seems to matter when it suits you.
Keep fighting, keep marching, keep being as disruptive as needs be, and don’t ever, ever sit down and be quiet.