Inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of America on 20 January, 2016 has sent shock-waves across the world. Some of the biggest protest marches seen in America have taken place in cities from New York to Los Angeles.
There have been international demonstrations expressing concerns over the president’s views on gender and racial equality. The Women’s protest in Washington has been estimated to be ‘the biggest one-day protest in US history’. Protests have also taken place in other cities around the world. Trumps plans to abolish the so called ‘Obama care’ – the reforms introduced by the Affordable Care Act – and to build a wall along Mexico border, are not popular and have made those who will be affected, most apprehensive.
About Donald Trump’s personality, it was sadly amusing to read one psychologist’s view that he seems to have lived “an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.” That means a person without any conscience to trouble him! It is not surprising that a person who is seen to be without any compassion but with immense economic and military power, is seen as a possible global threat to the future wellbeing of humankind.
Donald Trump spoke of ‘giving power back to Americans’. Who are these ‘Americans’ so favoured by Trump? Not so much those living along the East or the West coast of America, where the biggest protests against his election were held, but mostly those from the middle and forgotten America, where factories have been closed over the decades. He called these the “tombstones”. Naturally, his pre-election rhetoric pleased those trying to make ends meet in these areas. He said that “protection will lead to great prosperity and strength” and that strong borders are needed to keep out “Islamic terror”.
“For too long a small group in nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of being in power while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished but people did not share in its wealth. Jobs left, factories closed.” said the billionaire President as he continued, “The establishment protected itself, not the citizens. Their victories and triumph were not yours. While they celebrated in DC there was little to celebrate for struggling families across the land.” Yet, those in Washington are the very people he will be working with in the next few years.
UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, will be one of the first foreign leaders to meet the US president about matters such as trade and security. In view of his comments about women, this should be an interesting meeting which will be closely watched by the world media. While, with Brexit, the UK is going out to the world for trade deals, Trump is heading in the opposite direction with ‘America first’. Will protection “lead to great prosperity and strength”?
The question is if he can set the clock back to the days of the flourishing factories employing thousands locally. If he cannot, he will be disappointing a lot of Americans who voted for him, in addition to the damage he can do to global stability.
Gurmukh Singh OBE