Donald Trump has to be, at this point, by far the most protested American leader in history. It’s not hard to see why, given his flagrant violations of traditions and customs, both national and international, as well as his blatant white supremacy. In short, Trump is an easy man to hate.
But the difference between Trump and other American presidents in terms of being protested against is that essentially the entire world hates him, save for a few dictatorships and primarily white nationalist countries.
Take England, for example: The “Trump Baby” balloon has been all over the news for weeks in anticipation of Trump’s visit with the Queen, and social media has been abuzz with Brits expressing their extreme displeasure with his presence. Trump has already gotten into dust-ups in the media with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, notably after the terror attack in London in June 2017, when Trump took a statement by Khan completely out of context and tweeted about it. Don Jr. even picked up on it, tweeting about Khan himself, leaving the Muslim mayor perplexed:
“I’m a reluctant participant in this dialogue with Donald Trump, because I’m trying to be a full-time mayor doing my job, and I’m not sure what he and his son have against me, and why they are tweeting about me. We’re not schoolchildren. He’s the president of the United States, so I’m unclear what his beef is with me.”
But Khan was the one, despite his admonitions to his constituents to remain peaceful, who made the decision to finally allow the Trump Baby balloon to fly during the president’s visit, so it’s clear he has no intention of stifling people’s choice of protests.
That’s why Dazed, a British style magazine, teamed up with New York activists “Illuminator” to project a special message for Trump onto a statue in the middle of Trafalgar Square as part of their “#AddressTheNation” endeavor, which has seen similar projections on the walls of Parliament, the Royal Court, and the Ministry of Justice:
But this is not just any statue. It is the world-famous tribute to Lord Horatio Nelson, called “Nelson’s Column,” which has stood where it stands now for the last 175 years. And picking this particular statue surely isn’t a coincidence — Nelson was a white supremacist, and a stubborn obstacle against England’s effort to put the murderous stain of the transatlantic slave trade behind them. Basically, this is the British version of Robert E. Lee.
There is almost the same sort of movement to bring that statue down in London as there is to remove the surplus of Confederate statues here in the United States, and for the same reason.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to send a good message in the short term first.
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images