Tuesday 20 November 2018

Together, we can all show Trump what we stand for

Ireland should show its opposition to the US president with 'monster meetings' of protest, writes Eamon Ryan

Donald Trump was greeted by a singer and harpists when he arrived at Shannon Airport in 2014
Donald Trump was greeted by a singer and harpists when he arrived at Shannon Airport in 2014

Eamon Ryan

I truly hope Irish people will turn out in huge numbers to march for peaceful international co-operation when the US president arrives in November. We are not just demonstrating against Trump, we are demonstrating who we are and what we stand for.

Some say ignoring him will send a better message, but I do not see how that works. Others point out that previous presidents have also done things that deserved condemnation, but Trump's erratic leadership brings risks that are off any historic scale. It is true we have to get our own house in order by tackling our health, homelessness and climate crises, but that does not mean we stay silent on the world stage. We just need to lace our demonstration with humility and a willingness to heed any criticism that comes back in return.

This is not an attack on the American people. They understand that political protest has a role to play. We have a duty to call Trump out on his treatment of refugees. He cannot be let off over tearing families apart. Some others say we should stay quiet for fear we might upset US companies but we cannot afford to ignore the trade wars he is now starting with our own EU. The cutting of their aid budget to pay for an ever-greater military spend says it all. What he is doing could come back to haunt us all some dark night. We cannot let it go uncontested.

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