I’m interested in politics and I’m pretty devastated about the new US president (for the record, I’m distraught about our Prime Minister as well)
However, I didn’t march on Saturday because I was uncomfortable about the purpose of a march in London to protest the inauguration of a foreign leader who was elected (Russian involvement aside) in a election where the results are uncontested.
Trump is not my president. I’m not a US citizen and I worry about how easy it is to protest his presidency, without engaging in the democracy that you live in. I find the prospect of Trump as the ‘leader of the free world’ horrifying and I’ve marched about other things. It feels good to be surrounded by people that feel the same way as you do about something but for a UK citizen to protest the election results of another country (even if the candidate selected is a narcissistic liar) makes me uncomfortable because it’s just too simple.
There isn’t actually a damn thing we can do about Trump, except pray but the things we can do, the hard work of living in a democracy, and it is hard work, we aren’t doing. You have to educate yourself so you can understand the system of government where you live. You need to vote and understand what you’re voting for. After that you need to hold your elected representatives to account and support the institutions that do. You have to research and verify what you’re told, somewhere other than the echo chamber that is social media, which means holding our press to account and ensuring that it isn’t a monopoly. It’s effort. All democracies are built on this work, when the electorate stops working, so does democracy.
We need to do more than protest in a march. We need to think about what Trump as President means for the UK and for the world. We need to hold our government accountable for it’s interactions with President Trump, in terms of the support we offer (it’s not much but it’s ours) and the agreements we sign. Holding our government accountable is the only way we have an influence here. Given who’s in charge right now, given that as a country we aren’t holding them to account for the state of our country, for the NHS crisis, the state of the railways, the way it’s deals with the unemployed or mentally ill, the state of prisions and the housing crisis. It’s not likely that they’ll listen about the ‘special relationship’ is it?
American citizens marching, reminding their President that he serves all of them and that they will hold him to account, is inspiring. We need to hold our Prime Minister and the government she leads to account, and soon, and that is much harder than protesting about Trump….