As the protests grow over Donald Trump’s ban on US entry for citizens of seven mainly-Muslim countries, I spoke with radio outlets on Tuesday about whether it is right to demonstrate inside and outside America.
Discussion ranges includes whether Trump should be given the honor of a State visit to the UK and what challenges his Presidency poses to American values.
I’ve been in the UK for more than 30 years, but my friends and family are back in the US and you never quite leave where you were born.
I grew up with these ideas of freedom, dignity, tolerance, and respect for each other, and I’m witnessing not just a President but also his close advisors who really don’t treat people with respect, who really don’t show dignity, and who are pushing through orders which are probably unconstitutional and illegal — but are trying to steamroller them through.
“A Critical Moment”
I spoke with Phil Upton of BBC Coventry about the situation around Trump’s Muslim Ban and the protests over any State visit by the US President to Britain. That led to an exchange connecting the “power grab” by the Administration (see separate podcast) with the need to speak out.
Trump and his advisors are going to try and intimidate their own agencies. They are going to try and intimidate the courts. They have already declared the media an enemy and said it should shut up. They are going to try and quash any idea of questioning of their policies.
This is the most important period since the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement. Do we allow a group of men to dominate the American system and carry out policies which are damaging to the environment, to race, to gender, to America’s standing in the world? Or do we respond?
In 1963 Martin Luther King went to Washington not to divide people but to say, “I have a dream.” Not for some people. Not for a few. But for all. And I think we are at a moment when Americans are going to reclaim that.
Taking on Trump
I also had a spirited 15-minute discussion with right-wing “shock jock” Jon Gaunt, taking on the declaration that “Trump Protesters Are Crybabies!”
How to handle that? Start with the realities of how the Trump Administration is grabbing power, dissect the chaos and the disinformation over the Muslim Ban, and strip away the casting of blame on the media and “protesters”.