The morning of Trump’s victory a man in a newsagent said that I should be the next Prime Minister. What did I do to merit consideration for the highest office in the country? Told the man serving me that Trump and Clinton were not equally bad; called Trump dangerous and pointed out that those Americans voting for him because he wasn’t part of the political establishment probably wouldn’t accept the services of an unqualified, anti-establishment brain surgeon. Volià – it seems that with a few catchy opinions (and a cool billion to spare) you’re half-way there. It worked for Donald.
Of course it was a joke; who knows ‘you’re fit for the premiership love,’ might become another way middle-aged men chat up women young enough to be their daughter. It was also unfortunately no joke that Trump had actually won. But this little charade in the newsagent and a tweet that appeared on my feed, saying that the best way to fight Trump was to stand up for the rights and values he opposes, made me feel a little less hopeless about the whole situation- a little less like I was watching the brutal abduction scene in Nocturnal Animals and powerless to stop it. I thought if we’re still here and breathing there must be something we can do turn the tide. So I came up with a list, a starting-point for fighting Trump & Co and their venomous xenophobic, sexist, racist, homophobic, climate-change-denying ideas:
- Accept that these right wing demagogues have gained traction due to inequality of income and opportunity as well as pure hatred. We can’t go back to what was; we can only go forward from what is.
- Cultivate a diverse network of friends and acquaintances – don’t just talk to middle class, highly educated people of your own age. Do we need any more evidence that preaching to the converted doesn’t work? Social division creates a vacuum for Trump & Co to spread their messages of fear and hatred.
- Speak up against injustice – Catherine Mayer co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party put it best: ‘Here’s how to respond to Trump. Do something today to fight for the rights & values he opposes. Then do something tomorrow and the next day.’
- Speak another language – There’s no better way to defy the nationalist demagogues who say: ‘Speak English, revere our dominant national symbols or get back on the boat.’ (Never mind that a unified culture doesn’t exist within the Anglophone community itself). So give the international finger to monocultural propaganda by flaunting your new-found ability to order polski piwo, gossip in Spanish or pronounce Baile an Bhuinneanáigh like you’re from there.
- Hug a tree – metaphorically, because if you deny climate change… well you’re starting to resemble Trump & Co already. And literally throw your arms around your tall, mossy friend because they have been here, on this one earth we share, longer than any of us. They’ve survived the cholera and Hitler years, they’ll survive Trump & Co and forever be an international symbol of grace, vivacity and hope.