Jan 24, 2017

An Open Letter to Political Leaders the World Over

I understand that in your position, it is important to present yourselves in a particular manner when dealing with other world leaders, specifically those who you may not believe are good leaders. There is a standard of polite behaviour, behaviour that is politic. You call someone to congratulate them on an election victory, or utilize neutral language when referring to the relationship your countries share.

In 1937, Neville Chamberlain used similar rhetoric in his dealings with Nazi Germany. We all know how that worked out.

This past weekend, the entire world (that is, all 7 continents) stood together to protest the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States. Yet the language I have heard coming from the leaders of of Western democracies has been appeasing and conciliatory. I urge you, as Trump begins dismantling the work of Civil Rights activists of the last 150 years, to let him know that you are not willing to appease him, that you are not willing to be conciliatory.

I am reminded of a moment in the film “Love, Actually,” in which Hugh Grant, as the British Prime Minister, refuses, publically, to be polite to an American President who has just pulled Trump-style shenanigans during a meeting. In that moment, that melodramatic, fictional moment, I was more proud of a politician than I have been in the 42 years I’ve lived on this Earth.

So this is what I ask: Stand up for what you believe in. Be vocal about what you believe in. You have no problems doing this to other politicians while on the campaign trail. This, what is happening right now, is so much more important, so much more terrifying, than the circumstances that prompt election mudslinging. What is happening right now is regression, hatred, and a path to destruction.

I have faith in human beings. I think that we are capable of great good. Our political, religious, and educational institutions have helped to make the world a better, safer place for everyone. They haven’t been perfect, not by a long shot, but no one can make a claim to have been. Amongst those imperfections there have been moments of great joy and progress, of marching toward, as millions did this weekend, a better world.

Speak up against Donald Trump and his cronies. Against the racism that his administration tacitly and explicitly endorses. Against the LGBTQI rights he endangers, rights paid for in blood. Against the administration of women’s reproductive rights by the state. Against the destruction of the only planet we have in the name of money and power. Against the injustices heaped upon Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinx, Asian-Americans.

I’ll close with some words from my favourite writer, a fantastic and strange Scotsman named Grant Morrison, the final words from his masterful series “Doom Patrol”:

“There is another world.
There is a better world.
there must be.”

Tom Miller, Citizen of Planet Earth.

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