Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day to look back at the lessons of the past and vow never to repeat them.
Sadly some of us have very short memories and never listened in class.
It’s hard to believe that we’re just a week on since Donald Trump’s inauguration. It’s been a strange and unsettling week. Actually, scratch that. Let’s be clear here, it’s been a strange and unsettling week for me, a straight white man, because I won’t be affected by much of the evil that Trump is seeking to perpetrate. For women, people of colour, immigrants, and LGBT people, it’s been a downright terrifying week, and because of that, it really should be terrifying (not just strange and unsettling) for all of us.
I intended to write a blog about Trump and the immediate aftermath of his yugely well-attended party last weekend, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I retreated into a story I’m writing instead. This was partly because I simply didn’t want to engage with Trump beyond a few venomous tweets, and partly because I was unsure of my feelings about the major issue at the time (the punching of a white supremacist who I won’t name). Is it right to attack someone like that?
I’m still not entirely sure. I couldn’t care less about the person himself (if you want to take away someone else’s rights, I won’t shed a tear when yours come under attack), but I wondered about what it achieved. A number of people drew comparisons to World War II and how appeasement and taking the moral high ground failed to stop Hitler and maybe even contributed to the devastation that gripped the world between 1939 and 1945. Sometimes violence can be deemed necessary, the argument goes, and while that’s true, there needs to be purpose and strategy behind it in my opinion. I saw neither in the video of the attack last weekend, and there’s something about celebrating such pointless violence that leaves me queasy – no matter how satisfying it is to see an odious person given his just desserts.
Of course, things have got much worse since. Trump has been every bit the monster he promised he’d be on the campaign trail. Why wouldn’t he be? He may be a liar, but when he promises to do great evil, you better believe that’s exactly what he’ll do. He will ban Muslims, he will build walls, he will trample all over the rights of everyone who isn’t white, rich, and male. “Yes we can,” said Obama. “Yes I can,” says Trump. Because that’s who he is. The man who put the ‘I’ in America.
What can you do in the face of such hate? Millions of wonderful people made their opening statement last weekend with the glorious Women’s March, proving to Trump that unity will always triumph over division. Other marches are already planned for the future, and I’m sure there’ll be many many more to come. Beyond that, I’ve been encouraged by people’s creativity: the beautiful simplicity of this tweet, and the inspiring hope of this piece of art. Trump is a destroyer. One of the most potent forms of resistance is to create.
For what it’s worth, I myself have taken to Twitter and been more political than I’ve been in a long, long time, ridiculing Trump and the long, frog-faced turd that’s poking out of his rectum (fuck you, Farage) and even managing to work an excellent reference to Pogs in a tweet about Mexico paying the US back for the ridiculous wall. It was a beautiful reference. A great reference. Seriously, you’ve never seen a better reference to a 1990s relic than this one.
But it’s all a little pointless.
Twitter is fine and all, but using it to mock Trump feels futile. It’s nice to think that a well-crafted burn will get under his skin, but even if it does, it’ll never have enough impact to do him any real damage. He may even become more determined in his efforts to screw the world over. He’s just that kind of a dickhead.
So instead, I’ve tried to pump a little positivity into the world. I’m writing a story that’s unashamedly hopeful and all about the importance of empathy at times like this. I’ve donated some money to a local LGBT charity. And I bought flowers for colleagues at work who a) celebrated their birthday and b) completed a long, hard piece of work this week. In the grand scheme of things, these actions probably don’t amount to much; they’re certainly not going to put much of a dent in Trump. But kindness needs all the help it can get at the moment, and this is something at least.
So that’s it really. A messy, disorganised blog to report on messy, disorganised thoughts about a messy, disorganised week. I’ll end it with a clip that would no doubt drive Trump insane.