Although, I didn’t participate in the protest by an estimated 200,000 people against Donald Trump, we were in London attending a play, and I had the opportunity to engage with some of the protesters. Their signs indicated a complete disgust for the American president. At the end of the protest a video message from Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter Movement, was played. Cullors said, “We have to fight together, when we fight together we are more powerful, and when we fight together we are braver.”
Trump did little to change the protesters opinion of him. During a press conference prior to arriving in England, he insulted Prime Minister Theresa May, claiming that he had advised her on the proper way to do Brexit, but she disregarded his advice. It was possible that there would be no trade deal between our two countries, but he might deal with the European Union. He also continued to deride the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and broke protocol by walking in front of Queen Elizabeth II while visiting Windsor Castle. It was apparent by the absence of Prince Charles and his sons Harry and William that the royal family had as little regard for the American president as the common people of England.
While traveling by ferry from France back to England, I had one of my most consequential conversations while in Europe. An Englishman, around my age, was out on the deck of the ferry when I ventured out. We exchanged greeting and he began to point out landmarks when he learned I was from the United States and this was my first time visiting England. I shared that we had visited Rouen, France, where the battle of Normandy had been fought. He stated that his 90-something-year-old father had fought in World War II and at Normandy.
That led us into the discussion of the U.S. and U.K. strained relationship since Donald Trump’s election. He felt that Prime Minister May was very weak, she initially opposed Brexit, but has now embraced it. He went on to say that Donald Trump’s nationalism policies were even more dangerous than Brexit. He based those beliefs on the fact that the President of the United States is the most powerful position in the world. And with that power came a greater responsibility.
We talked about how the allies from World War II and the treaties agreed upon have kept the over-all peace around the world. And how one reckless, egotistical and ignorant man has the power to upset that balance around the world –– something both maddening and frightening to both of us. As we were coming into port, we said our goodbyes to make our way back to our respective families. In parting, I offered a small glimmer of hope, stating that I believed people who understood history would not stand by idle and allow the ugly history of the past to repeat itself.
Even though I demonstrated confidence to my new nameless friend, the reality is unless Americans demand better from our elected officials, we will continue down this dangerous path. Voting on Nov. 6 is critical for not only the United States, but for the free world. Please don’t stand idly by and not exercise your right and responsibility to vote!