Comment writer Zoe Olukoga considers where the voice of opposition comes from today, and how necessary it isWritten by Redbrick on 18th February 2017
Appeasement Won’t Solve Trump Concerns
Kat Smith shares her experience of the anti-Trump protests, and insists that we remember the lessons of the past
Throughout Trump’s position in the public eye, during his initial rise to fame, the election campaign and eventual win for Presidency in November 2016, he has gone far from unnoticed by us in the UK. Our newspapers, Facebook feeds and conversations have been flooded with his ludicrous remarks and propositions displaying possibly every form of ignorance possible. The occasional meme has lessened the pain of knowing that such a man is now the most powerful in the world but since his inauguration, the reality is starting to hit.
As of this article being written, a petition asking for Trump to be prevented from having a State Visit to the UK has gained over 1.8 million signatures. The petition states that Trump’s ‘misogyny and vulgarity’ means he shouldn’t be allowed to be in the company of the Queen or the Prince of Wales. The thought of appeasing Trump just because of his power is ludicrous to me; surely we need to show that we don’t stand for such behaviour so that there’s some kind of chance that it’ll stop.
“We spend years in school learning about tyrants in history, yet as soon it happens in front of our eyes when we protest and petition and make our voices heard, our leader fails to listen
Nonetheless, Theresa May has stated that the invitation remains. It must be questioned whether the voice of the British people is valued. After huge protests all over the UK (and many other countries) last week, against what’s been called by the press and public the ‘Muslim Ban’, it’s clear that the masses are disgusted with Trump’s behaviour. This travel ban is now in limbo after unsurprising questioning over its lawfulness, yet where is the condemnation of it by the Prime Minister?
I can’t help but feel that the sign stating ‘Appeasement doesn’t work with tyrants. Just ask Chamberlain’ couldn’t be truer in such a situation. We spend years in school learning about tyrants in history and how we should condemn those who try to pull society down and isolate groups of people, yet as soon it happens in front of our eyes when we protest and petition and make our voices heard, our leader fails to listen. We are living through something that will one day make up the pages of a history book. It’s still a mystery to me how Trump was allowed to become President of the United States in the first place but now our own Prime Minister is failing to consider the uproar over it, there is little incentive to act against it. So many of us are united in our opposition to Trump, but it’s disheartening to see little done about it.
One positive development is Speaker John Bercow saying that President Trump will be unable to address Parliament, calling it an ‘earned honour’. You don’t need reminding of Trump’s views and personality; there’s no doubt that this honour hasn’t been earned. Despite applaud from many in the House, there has been uproar about Bercow’s comments about Trump from senior Conservatives amongst others. A place for debate and differing political views, it may be said that Bercow’s opposition to Trump poses a threat to freedom of speech. Others have commented that Bercow’s position means he should be above such debate.
Bercow commented that, in relation to Trump’s visit, ‘I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.’ (4) I firmly agree; it’s not an acceptable form of freedom of speech if that speech intends to impeach on the rights of other people. When you are able to find a Donald Trump sexism tracker, there’s quite clearly a problem. It’s ridiculous that this has to be said about a political leader, but Trump would add nothing valuable to a political discussion. It seems that Trump’s ignorance would ensure that any explanation and debate showing why he’s wrong would go in one ear and out the other.
We need to show our contempt for Trump, even if May doesn’t. I didn’t sit through years of history classes to suddenly believe that appeasing a tyrant could ever make them less dangerous.