Here's Why Theresa May Must Keep Her Word And Call Donald Trump Out When He Says Or Does Something 'Unacceptable'
The Debrief: Women who marched against Trump explain why standing up to America's new president matters
Fact: on Saturday hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets in Washington DC for the Women’s March. Attendees were marching for women’s rights, race equality, gender equality and other issues they feared could be threatened by Trump’s administration. It’s thought that these were the biggest political demonstrations America has seen since the Vietnam war.
Also a fact: throughout the rest of America millions of Americans also protested and around the world hundreds of sister marches took place. In London alone it’s estimated that 100,000 people marched. Elsewhere people from Nairobi to Paris, from Cape Town and Sydney to Berlin took to the streets in solidarity with America.
Donald Trump’s interpretation of these facts: Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, used his first White House briefing on Saturday to claim that Trump’s inauguration had the ‘largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe’. These claims are completely unsubstantiated and, in any case, Obama’s first inauguration holds the record by far. Senior White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, told NBC on Sunday that Spicer had not lied but simply offered the press ‘alternative facts’. However, mainstream media isn’t buying it. As The Atlantic put it: if trump and his aides are ‘willing to lie about stuff this miniscule, why should anyone believe what [they] say about the really big things that matter?’. But, hey, having catastrophically low approval ratings must be rather rattling.
So far, so shady from the latest acquisition by Trump’s empire: the White House. Indeed, his administration have already removed mentiones of climate change, LGBT rights and healthcare from the White House's official website.
Theresa May is scheduled to meet Donald Trump at the White House on Friday. Speaking over the weekend she said that she ‘won’t be afraid’ to tell him is he says or does anything she feels is ‘unacceptable’. May believes that it is our ‘special relationship’ with America that ‘allows us to say when something is unacceptable’.
Let’s hope Theresa May remains true to her word, calling out the President and upholding our values no matter how precarious our future trade deal with the US may be looking. As Tony Benn once put it: ‘protest is vital to a thriving democracy’, so just in case the misinformation already being put out by the Trump administration isn’t enough of a reminder, and May needs a bit of inspiration to get her into the right frame of mind ahead of her big meeting, The Debrief spoke to people who attended marches over the weekend. We asked them why they were protesting, while values they were defending and what they feared about Trump's presidency.
‘This weekend, along with around half a million other people, I joined the women's march in New York. Like so many, I have been dismayed and heartbroken by the rise of hatred, ignorance and division that has polluted communities across the world. I live in Queens (where Donald Trump was born), one of the most diverse places on the planet, and yesterday I marched for the rights of immigrants, muslims, black people and Native Americans, for justice, equality and humanity. I marched to demand respect for women, and to end violence and discrimination against us. I marched for reproductive rights, and to have the power and support to make our own decisions about our own bodies. I marched because I believe in science and I know that our world is under grave threat from climate change, which will not be solved by simply deleting the pages on a website. I marched for art and learning, for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities (which Trump's administration would like to eliminate).’
‘Whether Trump will listen and truly work for the people of America - all of them, including those who didn't vote for him - remains to be seen. For marchers, yesterday was a moment of unity and solidarity, but it must only be the beginning - we need to keep fighting every day until there is equality for everyone.’
‘I think, ideologically, marching can make a difference. In terms of actual laws, I don’t think this march is going to mean that Trump will be impeached. But I think it’s about helping people feel empowered, that there is some hope, even though a horrible person has been elected. You feel quite hopeless and helpless when someone who has values so against yours is the president of a country that is one of the most powerful countries in the world.’
Ghoncheh Lee, 33
'I marched in Nairobi to give the voiceless a voice. Every voice matters no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation or how you look. We must all speak out on the hateful rhetoric that the Trump administration as well as other politicians and leaders have been spreading.'
'We organized this march in solidarity with the march on Washington. We thought 50 to 70 people would show up, we had over 700 people in attendance. We are so proud of Nairobi for showing up and speaking out. We hope to keep this momentum going locally and abroad.'
Julia Hendrickson, 30, Austin, Texas
'I marched because, even though I knew it was a symbolic gesture (and fraught with racial hierarchies), as someone who works in the visual arts, I also know that symbols are important to how we live our lives. I believe in the power of symbols to spur people on, to encourage them to be present in their communities, and to give them energy to fight injustice. I marched to show that, in my position of privilege and relative safety as a white middle class woman, solidarity with and support of marginalized groups is incredibly important.'
'I marched because my mother needed to march with someone, she needed to get out of her comfort zone and see that she wasn't alone in the world, that others needed her. I marched for reproductive rights, for immigrants, for Native Americans, for climate change education, for young people today who need to see adults taking a stand, for those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions, and because Black Lives Matter.'
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