Kick-starting our ‘In response’ submissions in 2017, guest contributor Eliana Kessler, talks about how the British public have chosen to express their dissent…
President Trump’s first two weeks have been a dire whirlwind of regressive, alt-right, protectionist and outright racist policies. The week began with Trump erasing the existence of climate change, pulling out of the TPP trade deal, then cutting aid to international organisations who facilitate or even give information on abortions, and then the reintroduction of Dakota Access, Keystone XL oil pipelines, and then the active encouragement of waterboarding and torture, and then enforcing the Mexican border wall, AND THEN banning all refugees and immigrants (dual nationality included) from seven Muslim countries.
Wow, that was a long and depressing sentence.
The first 2 weeks of a long 4-year presidency.
Reading an endless number of Guardian and BBC articles is beginning to seem self-destructive and downright hopeless. Yet, while it is easy to see the madness of the world beginning to surge all around us, it’s important to recognise the empowered and active international resistance. On January 21st, up to 2 million people marched worldwide in support of women’s rights. The photos are truly phenomenal, showing women and men, of all backgrounds and ages, marching peacefully and enthusiastically together. The march no longer felt like a mere protest, but rather the beginning of a powerful movement against the rise of racism, misogyny, and blinding ignorance. This international movement has not stopped but is continuing to grow and develop. After Trump’s disgusting executive order banning all refugees and immigrants from 7 Muslim countries, millions of people are protesting on the streets again. Thousands of people have gathered across American airports, demonstrating their extreme opposition to Trump’s hateful words, and expressing inclusivity and support for refugees and immigration. In the UK, more than 1.3 million people overnight have signed a petition urging Theresa May and the government to cancel Trump’s state visit. On Monday 30th, an emergency demonstration outside Downing Street was organised by Owen Jones, with more than 20,000 people demonstrating and letting their voices be heard. This protest included speakers and opinions ranging from Ed Miliband MP to Lily Allen.
It’s so incredibly easy to become disheartened and despairing when looking at Donald Trump’s face and tiny hands. However, the millions of people petitioning, writing and protesting give us hope and inspiration. Whatever happens in the next 4 years, we must not let our anger and shock wither away but rather transform into resistance and protest. Donald Trump cannot break our fundamental morals and democratic values. His tiny hands are worthless compared to our powerful voices.