Over a million people petition Parliament objecting to the new, accident-prone, US President being rewarded with a State visit to the UK. Does the Queen really want to entertain him? True, she’s put up with a variety of questionable characters in the past, ranging from Nicolae Ceausescu and Saudi potentates to a Chinese Communist leader with a slightly different idea of human rights to our own.
But America – Leader of the Free World – has been hijacked by a man who does not see humanity as we do, who believes in “America first” when we live in a world that should come first. In ceremonies for new immigrants in the UK, I’ve talked about the importance of family, community and country; not just country. Global warming has no borders, nor does respect for victims of war, abuse or injustice. Refugees are not pawns to be traded as part of a businessman’s powerplay, they are the desperate result of fanaticism, hatred, callousness and intolerance.
Britain has a proud tradition of accepting refugees, asylum seekers and victims of persecution, we have Nobel laureates who came from that background, people of integrity, substance, intellect and erudition. Unlike a US President, willing to turn his coiffured head away from them. Being a businessman may involve doing deals, but you cannot deal with a nation’s conscience by overriding it’s tradition of tolerance and justice.
John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, captured the pain, anguish and suffering of farm-workers migrating to California from other US states, dubbed as “Okies” (ie from Oklahoma), by intolerant Californians, starving in migrant camps, lucky to earn a dollar a day picking peaches or cotton. Prejudice knows no bounds between countries, continents – or even within a country. Has Donald Trump read that great book? Maybe, I’ll send it to him as a gift, possibly delivered through Amazon, by a migrant employee.
Theresa May wants a special relationship with someone to replace our valuable one with the EU. It would be better to have another referendum than shake hands with a man for whom decency seems forgotten and tolerance a form of weakness. What is the world coming to when a xenophobic Trump/Farage axis is able to make such headway? As Edmund Burke famously said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Nuff said, Donald?