Thursday Thought: Is Trump Bringing People Together Instead of Pulling Them Apart?

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Every inch of the Internet is currently filled with discussion centred on the new president of the United States; Donald Trump. As the horror of his controversial policies begin to take shape, the world is in turmoil over what his next move will be. But, whilst there is plenty to be afraid of, light can be found in what seems to be a seriously dark time for politics. As petitions, marches and speeches flood social media, a sense of unity has taken shape. In a world that is currently facing segmentation, people seem to be coming together like never before.

Last year’s American presidential race came to a close in one of the most shocking results in modern political history. Trump’s win over democratic candidate Hilary Clinton left Americans, and the extended global population, waiting with baited breath for the 20th of January; the day of the formal inauguration ceremony. Through this formality Trump would publicly take over control of the United States from two-term president Barack Obama and officially cement his place in history.

The date January 20th became significant not only for the events that would happen on the day. But, more importantly, the lasting implications that would occur as a consequence. This was to be the moment at which we would find out whether or not the abundant fears circulating with regard to Trump and his administration were to come true. The answer to this thus far, quite bluntly, has been yes.

However, this result perhaps should not have come as quite as much of a surprise as it did. Particularly after the similarly unexpected outcome of the UK’s EU referendum only months prior. The result of both of these votes having simply served to give a voice and justification to an underlying xenophobia within western cultures.

Unity has been found amongst it all

A right-wing resurgence has been seen on both sides of the Atlantic. However, whilst political leaders and the discriminatory rhetoric promoted by Trump on the campaign trail has offered it credence, it has been met globally by strong opposition. An opposition effectively uniting everyone that doesn’t subscribe to the supremacist values Trump endorses.

This unifying effect is spreading throughout communities across the world in defence of those that Trump and his supporters are directly targeting. Giving rise to hundreds of protests across America, the UK, the seven countries that have been included within the ‘temporary ban on Muslims’ and many more.  Even leading to a petition directed to the British government. Receiving over 1.3 million signatures, an attempt to prevent Donald Trump’s planned state visit was in place.

Celebrities have even been driving the force

Among those signing and promoting this petition are a number of public figures including Ewan McGregor, Charlie Brooker, Lily Allen and Gary Lineker. Though, this isn’t the only case of celebrities utilising their extended influence and access to large audiences. For instance, Meryl Streep openly spoke out in opposition to Donald Trump in her speech at the Golden Globe Awards. Stating that

disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.

Then in much the same way less than three weeks later. Ashton Kutcher, Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone, the cast of Stranger Things and multiple others transformed the stage of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It effectively became a political mouthpiece speaking directly to Trump, Hollywood and the press.

In a similar fashion, Shia LaBeouf, in a typically Shia LaBeouf move, has set up a continuous live-stream art installation outside the Museum of Moving Image, New York. Through which he has invited the public to deliver the words ‘HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US’ into a camera. This was all in an effort to show

resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism, guided by the spirit of each individual participant and the community.

Where does the blame lie?

The sheer number of people in opposition to Trump, the bills that he has passed, and the bills he is likely to pass in the future demonstrate a flaw in society that remained hidden too long. A fact clearly demonstrated by the statistics from the election. They revealed that Trump didn’t win the popular vote. And, then again by later figures, which show him reaching a record-breaking rate of disapproval in comparison to any previous president (53% in his first two weeks in office).

The question now then, with the momentum of opposition towards the current American president, is what can be done? And how, if at all, can we act to prevent creation of any further social rifts?