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We Need To Stop Laughing At Trump

Every day it seems like there is a new Trump meme to tweet or share in our countless WhatsApp groups. From spelling mistakes in tweets to embarrassing phone calls with leaders, Trump appears to be the butt of a lot of our jokes.

For most of the liberals reading this you’re probably wondering whats wrong with making fun of Trump? In January this year I myself wrote a piece featuring some of the best funny tweets by the dear president of the US.  But just like many magicians who know how to distract us with fire and glamorous assistants while production assistants pass them envelopes with the big reveal in (sorry to shatter your illusions), Trump has been distracting us with his ridiculous behaviour and comments. 

Liberals have been focussing so much on his hair, his racist comments, digging up tweets and interviews from eons ago that we aren’t paying attention to the subtle destruction of the United States. While it is important to call out racist behaviour and comments, we need to also take into account the actions hidden behind all the orange hair. The art of misdirection has been perfected well by Trump. In the process of writing this article, I spent over 20 minutes looking for the perfect gif. Trust me, there are a lot.

The day after the FBI director James Comey confirmed that the FBI was investigating a link between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign via Russian hacking, Trump gave his daughter, Ivanka Trump the West Wing office in the White House. Day 68 into his presidency, Trump signed an Energy Independence executive order, thereby dismantling Obama’s environmental regulations. And then the very next day, he appointed Ivanka Trump as his assistant. He distracted us with his nepotism and got away with overturning Obama’s plans to slash carbon emissions. The list continues. Its much too long for me to condense into this article. The point is that there are a lot of instances where Trump has been distracting us.

He has openly declared the free press as one of the greatest threats to the USA. He continually calls out newspapers for ‘fake news’ while simultaneously giving his full support for media outlets such as Fox News. His attack on the free press doesn’t just stop there. His influence in the media industry is far further than we can even imagine.

In June 2018 it was reported that Robert Rogers a cartoonist at the The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette since 1993 was fired for making fun of Trump. The paper accused Rogers of being “obsessed with Trump” and his cartoons about the president as being too angry.

Cartoon by Robert Rogers 

I do kind of feel sorry for Trump. We both share the gift of having really expressive faces which isn’t always captured well on film or photography. We seem fixated on his many faces and less so on his policies.

It is much easier to make fun of Trump than it is to dismantle his policies. It plays directly into his hands. We are handing the world over to right-wing politicians with every joke and meme we make. We did not take him seriously when he was running in the US elections and the next thing we knew, he was elected over Hilary Clinton in what was a shock to some people. It was the same shock that spanned across the UK after the Brexit referendum. Dismissing the ‘other’ viewpoints as being racist or ridiculous leads to a cult following.

Since Trump and Brexit, we have seen a rise in dangerous right-wing ideologies and nationalism. We need to put a stop to this. So while it is may be fun in the moment to retweet the newest Trump meme, let us think about that hidden envelope with the big reveal in thats being handed to Trump while we’re distracted.

Afshan D'souza-Lodhi
Afshan D'souza-Lodhi is a poet and playwright based in Manchester. As well as her own writing Afshan is keen to develop other younger and emerging artists. You can find her fighting against police brutality and injustice alongside the Northern Police Monitoring Project.

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