Today, in Edinburgh, a couple of hundred folk came together in solidarity across continents with those who have been and who will be victims of the misogyny, racism and bigotry that Trump’s election success is normalising. I was invited to speak. Here is what I said.
Good afternoon friends.
Thank you so much for being here. For being here in solidarity, in hope, and in love. And thank you for inviting me to say a few words to you all.
I am Maggie Chapman, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens. But, for today, I am just a woman, an immigrant woman, standing with you all to gain the strength, share the determination and show the resolve I know we are going to need over the coming days, weeks, months, years.
The US election result devastated me. Trump’s win is, I think, the culmination of years of a political system and a political elite working to support an economic system that marginalises, that alienates, that excludes.
These two systems have worked together, have collaborated
- To cause people to act against their own interests,
- To give the majority of people little hope that their lives can be better,
- To treat people like they don’t matter, like they are expendable.
This is devastating and I am mourning. Mourning for what might have been, mourning for the destruction that is to come. Destruction of people’s lives, of communities, of democracy, of our climate.
But grief is a funny thing. You learn to live with it in so many different ways.
I think we are all gathered here today to work out how to live with our collective grief. What to do with it. What to do with ourselves.
For me, I have to remember what has happened over the last couple of years, to remind myself of the horror that has been, so I can better equip myself to fight it.
I have to remember just how abhorrent Trump really is. During his campaign over the last couple of years, Trump did lots of horrific things:
- He promised to create a system of surveillance targeted specifically at Muslims
- He promised to deport US citizens with whom he disagrees
- He promised to build a wall between the US and Mexico
- He advocated war crimes and endorsed torture
- He threatened women generally, and his opponent specifically
- He showed himself to be a chronic liar, a sexual predator, a tax avoider, a climate denier.
This is a man who is not worthy of our cooperation, our diplomacy, our understanding, our silence.
We must not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by the seeming normality of politics as usual, or his failure to act, immediately, on the promises he made during his campaign, of the accommodating noises being made by the establishment.
It is not going to be alright!
We must be extra vigilant, extra aware, extra willing to condemn fear, hate and bigotry.
We are going to have to work very hard, with friends across the world, to prevent the institutions of democracy and justice being dragged into Trumpian dystopia. We are going to have to resist the normalisation of his hate, his bigotry, his fear, in the media, in our places of work, in our schools, colleges and universities.
And let us remember that we do not fight alone, even in the United States: Trump did not win the popular vote. The majority of Americans did not vote for his hate, his bigotry, his fear.
So, we will not be silent. We will not maintain diplomatic politeness in the face of racism, sexism, misogyny, intolerance.
We will not lose our ability to notice, be shocked at, and show our outrage when Muslims, immigrants, women, people of colour, disabled people, poor people or anyone is targeted.
We will not compromise our values of tolerance, respect for diversity, love of difference, compassion, justice and equality.
Instead, we will come together, as women, Muslims, people of colour, disabled people, poor people … as human beings.
And we’ve got our work cut out for us.
We know that demagogues like Trump, those that will allow fascism to take a hold of our societies, exist closer to home too. We see it in France, with the Front National. We see it in Austria with the Freedom Party, and we see it in this country with UKIP and May’s Tory government.
We must organise. We must stand firm. We must be clear that we will not be silent bystanders and let fear and hate take hold in our lives.
We must win the argument for an enlightened society. We need to develop an exciting vision of the future that defeats the racist, sexist, bigoted future that Trump and others herald.
And the way we do that needs to be through actions that reject the politics of division by gender, race, religion and nationality. We must act to unify just as Trump acts to divide.
The antidote to Trump and his ilk, to their vile-ness, to the strategy of dividing us by race, by gender, by religion, by ability, is to come together. To fight inequality and injustice in all of its forms, every day.
Let us remember that our feminism, our intersectional activism, is powerful.
And together, we will show that love really does trump hate!