Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus, off she went with a Trumpety-trump! Trump, trump, trump!
Ah, more innocent times...when trump was the sound elephants made as they packed up and marched off into the sunset but which has now taken on a whole different connotation…business man, big towers, golf courses, fascist, bigot, misogynist…to name but a few. And how they turned out in their masses to protest the strange hairy one from across the pond...demonstrating to the world how not like Trump they are, they're liberal, open-minded, welcoming to all immigrants (at least until they show up on their doorstep!) and what better way to demonstrate this than to get out and let the 'leader of the free world' know he wasn't welcome here!
Well, I suppose they had to find something else to do this year with Glastonbury not being on. They even had a big one in Belfast too! The self-righteous boarded buses, whole families heading for a day out to demonstrate their liberal principles and let that 'fascist Trump’ know he wasn't welcome here either. I know because their posts were all over Facebook…and what a story they'll have to tell the grand-children in years to come when they ask, 'What did you do grandad when Donald Trump came to Britain? They will be able to hold their heads high and say, 'Yes, I was there - demonstrating!'
Well, it was news to me that fascists weren't welcome here because I thought they had been running this place for years! Well, it used to be the Catholic Church (not too liberal and open-minded there, as far as memory serves) then we had the Orange Order (again not renowned for their liberal ideas and open-mindedness), and not forgetting the military arm of the British government who were stomping around here for many years too. Then, of course, we had our own home-grown fascists who have been as busy as little beavers these last few weeks, building bonfires and terrorising their own communities, just like those little fascists on the other side who have been out rioting and burning vehicles for the last week too.
But, fair play to the people of the Bogside in Derry, they turned out on Friday night to tell those same little fascists, that the people were sick to death of them and sick of their communities being held to ransom and being terrorised. Of course, this demonstration didn't get the 1000's who went to Belfast to protest against ‘The Donald'. No, all they got was a few hundred friends and neighbours who have suffered years of oppression under these petty thugs and bullies. And the difference between the people in the Bogside, and those in Belfast? Well, it’s that old chestnut again, working class vs middle class. And it is just much more fashionable to jump on the bandwagon that doesn't really make any demands and which gets more publicity, like demonstrating against Donald Trump, than to confront the fascists in our midst.
But the thing is, the election of Donald Trump and the events in the Bogside are branches of the same tree and what they both have in common is the working-classes. The working-classes in America have suffered job losses and have been ignored by the government and the corporate elite for years. They have also been made to pay disproportionally for the flagrant abuse of money and power that caused the banking crash in 2008, just like here and in Britain. But no one bothered to listen, well, it’s only the working-classes, society is changing, work is changing and they just have to get used to it… at least that’s what they were told. Then, along came The Donald, promising the working classes jobs again, feeding into their hopes and dreams: he was listening to them, he knew they had been screwed over by the corporations and the government, he was going to get their jobs back, give them back their self-respect, he was on their side, he was on the side of the little guy, the ordinary working man, he would be their hero! He would make America GREAT AGAIN! So, they voted for him, because they had nothing left to lose, having already lost their jobs, their self-respect and any hope for the future.
Donald Trump’s supporters have been dismissed as bigots and racists, just like the Brexit voters here, because it’s a lot easier to dismiss someone than to sit and genuinely listen to them or address the issues that affect them. Easier to sneer at a ‘bigoted’ working-class man and jump on a bandwagon that feeds into the ego and lets you congratulate yourself on your liberal, open-minded principles than to open your ears and listen to those on the bottom or actually do something about it.
When the demonstrations end, everyone will go home feeling good about themselves, safe in the knowledge that they did their bit for freedom and democracy. What will it achieve? Donald Trump will go back to the US and will still be the president. Whether he will turn out to be a working-class hero or just another manipulator in a suit, has yet to been fully decided but I suspect the latter considering his actions so far. How the working classes will react if/when it turns out they have been lied to and screwed over again, is anybody’s guess, but history has a few examples, France in 1789 and Russia in 1917.
The working-classes have delivered a few shocks to the liberal elite in recent years both here and in the US but they’re still not being listened to. The demonstrations against Donald Trump ignore the issues that led to his election, just like here in the Brexit vote, a vote the liberal elite are still trying to reverse. So, keep ignoring those on the bottom, keep feeding your middle-class liberal ego, keep reading the Guardian and sneering down your nose at Corbyn and his supporters, and keep believing the narrative created and promoted in the media that keeps dismissing those ‘lower-class bigots’ and allowing you feel so smug and self-righteous, and you may just have a completely different story to tell your grand-children when they ask, ‘What happened after the demonstration, grandad?’