Now that it has been announced that President Trump will be visiting Britain, plans are also being put in place for large and loud protests. So much that he has said and done in his brief period as President cries out for protest, but may this achieve the very opposite effect to that intended?
When at some Award event, actors line up to attack Trump or at a Press Dinner speakers tell jokes to belittle the man, he quietly rubs his hands with glee. He knows that for his supporters such gatherings are all the evidence needed of why it was important to vote Trump and also to ensure he has a second term in office.
The script is that it is the liberal elite doing their usual complaining, not listening to or understanding the real needs of ordinary Americans, especially those who feel too long their views have been overlooked by those in power.
So Trump visits Britain and people protest and the script will be about ungrateful Western countries who don’t appreciate the support American has given. All of which will confirm the Trump America First policy – it is the needs of America that matter not so-called allies. The very act of protesting against Trump is more likely to confirm his supporter base in their views and make them more determined to vote him in for a second term of office.
So is there an alternative?
Imagine nobody comes out to protest. In fact the public decide to complete ignore his visit and the newspapers give it only the very briefest of mention – and no pictures. The presidential motorcade driving through deserted streets – now that would be a powerful message and a president who craves attention might start to get that message.
Or if that is too much to imagine, then all who do turn out falling silent as the motorcade comes by and turning their backs. Silent, powerful and an act that would be noticed across the world.
The chances of either of these happening is perhaps nil but the same old, same old will not work.
To satisfy our own need to do something, the protesters will come out and the placards will be waved. We will have vented our anger and frustration but it will all be sound and fury meaning nothing. More likely it will affirm both president and supporters that they are right and prove our lack of understanding. Such protest will be a badge of honour he will wear with pride.
We need to understand the old politics of protest no longer work in the modern age. Something deeper is need than the shout of “Trump: out, out, out!” But to unite in ignoring him – now that just might be a protest that was noticed.