It is a symptom of modern times that our attention span is so short. We are in an era where everyone, not just the much maligned ‘millennial’, uses social media to denounce their enemies. To tell the world who is ‘Scum’ or ‘a disgrace’. The time is such that we cannot decide who is our primary foe. This has been highlighted by the rise of Trump.
Now, what I am not saying is that is impossible to denounce the actions of Trump and a truly terrible Tory Government, nor is it impossible to act against them, it is surely importance to identify who is the main focus of our attacks.
Having attended the First Trump protest, I was blown away by the raw frustration and genuine solidarity on display. I was also acutely aware of many who took the opportunity to shove themselves in front of a camera, to crawl with a placard into part of history without any real desire to change history themselves, without any desire to make history flow down the right path.
There are several abhorrent things that this Government have done, none of those things have incited mass demonstration in quite the same way as Trump. Perhaps Trump is just the perfect storm of racism, sexism and Orwellian nightmare to make us stand up, or maybe the temptation to garner 15 minutes of fame on Twitter or Buzzfeed holding a sign with a hilarious cartoon or clever pun, is just too great. This should not take away from what was a fantastic stand against an abhorrent man, yet it is something to think about.
All across social media, I see groups organising to ‘Take down Trump’. I’m sure he’s shaking in his boots about 16 socialists in Stockwell planning his demise. I am also sure that those people’s time could be better spent campaigning in Copeland or Stoke, or talking to people in their communities.
Fighting against the actions of this useless Tory Government. While it is not impossible to act both against Trump and the Tories, it is preferable to focus efforts into things that are achievable. We could win Copeland, we could win Stoke, we could make lasting difference to peoples’ lives here. If well organised in opposition, we could ensure that the worst aspects of Trumpism do not find their way onto our shores. Doing that involves focusing our efforts, and focusing our attacks on the Tories.
It does not involve rallies with decreasing attendances or meetings talking about how Marxist Students’ Associations should respond to Trump’s latest tweet.
When Trump arrives on his State visit, which he will, whether we approve of it or not, there is likely to be a mass demonstration. In fact, the cost of security for the visit is one of strongest arguments for it not going ahead. However, I think that protesting on such scale could almost be the wrong thing to do.
Trump is a bully. Everyone remembers their first encounter with a bully. When you or your child came home the first time and said that they were getting picked on, what was your reaction? Was it to make fun of the other child, or to lamp him across the face? I hope not. The reaction of most is to tell the child to ignore the bully.
Bullies often crave the attention. Trump definitely does. He encourages controversy and incites hate to keep him trending on Twitter and his big orange face on the front page. Perhaps the best thing that the left or detractors of Trump could do is ignore him. Do not give him the oxygen he needs to fan the flames of his controversy. How about instead you write a letter to your MP asking them to hold the Government to account, or to ensure they don’t attend any of Trump’s planned visits?
Maybe that’s the best way to deal with this bully – make him feel as though no one cares he exists. The same cannot be said for the Tories. They must be under constant scrutiny, they must be held to account. The left must focus on the winnable fights not just the Ten Top Twitter Trends.