How to Trump Democracy

If getting your head around the effects of Brexit seemed hard enough on its own, what happens when you add the fiery atmosphere of immigration on the international stage now? Donald Trump made some wild claims and venomous promises in his campaign for presidency that a lot of people brushed aside, thinking he could never, or would never follow them through.

However,it now appears that Donald Trump has confused the concept of empowerment with that of oppression. He is signing executive orders that serve to alienate many of his own citizens and open them up to dreadful discrimination. Let us not forget that the result was extremely close – just like the Brexit result, and the Scottish independence referendum – so as a leader, Trump is not in fact speaking on behalf of his entire nation. One American has written a strong piece on the matter: read more here.

In New York there have been challenges to Trump’s legal right to sign executive orders banning all immigration from selected states. The ACLU stepped in to challenge Trump’s executive order based on 5th Amendment rights which prevent the government from “depriving individuals of their liberty without due process of law” – which is exactly what the detainment of arriving immigrants demonstrated.  Also, proposing to open the door to the use of torture, or deporting individuals to countries which are likely to use torture, contravenes UN Conventions.

Trump is slamming the door

Effectively, Donald Trump is trying to slam the door on the movement of people into the US, whilst also reversing years of anti-oppression and healthcare work inside his walls. Understandably he is sticking to his guns and doing what he said he would as he slithered his way through his campaign. But that was when no-one really thought he could get into power using the rhetoric he showed. But now that has shed that skin and glows a whole new orange, he seems to be energetically digging his fangs into every prey he can wrap his scales around.

How will Trump’s immigration bans impact on the UK? Even our national hero, Mo Farah, was falling foul of the policy – a British-Somalian Muslim – until some changes were tabled. If someone from his banned nations attempts to defy the ban and travel anyway, via the UK, will it be our job to detain and deport them back to their own country? Or do we let them through and make the US deal with them?  Trump  claims he is focused on “protecting” the US, and only the US, but when anyone looks at even the most basic of data, he’d do much better to spend some time listening to his own intelligence agencies first. Wouldn’t he?

He has now hit back, however, claiming that it has nothing to do with Islam. I’m not sure whether I should be more insulted by the executive order itself, or by his attempt to brush of the mainly Islam countries as a mere coincidence. Seriously: how naïve does he think the world is? It could also be seen as a somewhat arbitrary, gestural act since America suffers substantially more killings of Americans by Americans than there ever has been by foreign Islamic fundamentalists.

Waving the Iron fist…

Is this all just political grandstanding? Is he not just waving his iron fist around like a toy he got for Christmas that he has had to wait a month to play with?  That is almost how it feels – the country is his new toy and he wants everyone to know he is prepared to use it.  But instead of running around the hallways of the White House with his new remote control car, he’s smacking people round the face with it, and putting the batteries in the microwave.

When it comes to the UK, should we be asking why our PM is not taking more of stance against these inflammatory decisions instead of publicly shaking hands with him?

The handshake and holding hands was a gesture of tacit approval – or at least that is how it could be seen. Theresa May has, after reflection, gently suggested that we don’t really agree with everything Trump is doing. but that was too little, too late. Her offer of a state visit sparked a petition that achieved over a million signatures in just over two days.  As the support for the petition grows well beyond a million, May is being criticised for a weak response to Trump. It seems to be an awkward position for the UK to make no stance against what could be considered illegal human rights issues, whilst welcoming Trump for a visit. Could it be seen as hypocritical that we should be so critical of Russia and Putin’s homophobic stance whilst rolling out the red carpet for a different kind of bigot?

That begs the question of whether our PM in the UK will do her democratic duty and listen to her own electorate, or whether she we choose to impose a state visit upon us.  Jeremy Corbyn finally spoken out clearly against the state visit yesterday, supporting the petition and the protests set to occur last night. Interestingly, it was just a couple of years ago that universities were being banned from inviting controversial speakers to debate at universities – the best places, one would assume, to stage an intellectually managed debate.

As the the news unravels this morning, and I expect to be reading a lot on the aftermath of protests across the west, I find out that Donald J Trump President of the USA – a self proclaimed championing state of democracy – has fired his acting Attorney General for standing up against him.  Sally Yates said:

“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Yates wrote in a letter to justice department lawyers. “At present I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”

The Guardian, 31st January 2017

I have to hold up my hands and admit that I am a fervent campaigner against the constant snail’s pace of our legal system in the UK. I am forever complaining that inquiries take seemingly forever to complete, and red-taped bureaucracy trips up so much potential progress. But if I compare that to the sheer capacity for destruction that the Trump administration has wielded in just a week, capped off by how Trump has been able to fire his Attorney General merely for disagreeing with him, I have to say: I’d prefer a snail to a snake any day.

Update: Independent article

“US Muslim Preacher ‘who advocated beheading of gay men allowed to lecture in the UK’ “

This report has just come out. I could guffaw and bemoan the hypocrisy but in truth I am more bemused by the sudden change in tone even in paragraph one, which seems to immediately drop to “allegedly …” – therefore changing the tone somewhat.

Nevertheless, it seemed apt to provide this as an update to my blog.

Click HERE for the post in the Independent.