Although President Trump is unlikely to visit our city, it was important to make our objections to his presence in our country known and felt.
I thus fully supported the demonstration that took place on July 12.
I recall a poem penned by the famous Welsh bard Dylan Thomas: he urged us to “rage against the dying of the light”.
When I think of those words now, I am reminded of the Statue of Liberty, raising her golden torch to face the sea.
So many people from so many lands ventured to America because they thought they could discern the light of freedom in the distance.
These immigrants, whether they came from Italy, Germany, China, or Nigeria, helped build the country and make it a global power in terms of economics, culture, and military might.
But as we look across the Atlantic now, it seems that the torch of liberty is dimming; the flame flickers, smoulders, dies out.
Trump’s policies have led to children being separated from their parents and imprisoned in cages.
Now, he aspires to detain refugees indefinitely. His advice to desperate people was simple, don’t come and you won’t be ill-treated.
However, if you have the whip at your back, it’s difficult to go anywhere but forward.
Trump is also shredding the idea of a world order based on agreed rules. This is incredibly dangerous: if there are no rules, then justice merely becomes the good of the strong.
I have a bigger economy or army than you, and thus I can impose my will. Rules and alliances may constrain, but they also protect.
We have seen what happens when there are no laws, no international bodies to sustain global order: it saturated much of the Twentieth Century in blood. We may dislike the inhibiting effects of treaties: but history should instruct us that the alternative is far worse. The likes of Putin and Xi Jinping are the only ones who benefit from Trump’s wrecking ball.
Trump is rolling back many basic human rights. His choice of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court is of concern and puzzling: we have recently seen Ireland make a choice for change, their health minister going so far as to say to the women of Ireland that those facing difficult choices would be extended an open hand. Trump appears to want to roll back the protections for women in the United States; I can’t help but wonder if some of his acolytes have watched “The Handmaid’s Tale” and thought the policies of the fictional Gilead are a good idea. The clenched fist has replaced the open hand.
We here in Peterborough may not have a great influence on American affairs. But we can rage against the dying of the light; so we did, and so we must continue.