Over the weekend I had the opportunity to chat in Brussels with Wouter Van Bellingen, the first black deputy mayor of Belgium and prominent a civil rights activist against cases like Black Pete. Some of the topics we touched upon were the future of Europe in light of the rise of far-right populist parties and the start of President Donald Trump’s mandate in the White House.
One thing we agreed on was that people in Europe and the United States are faced with two choices. “At the end of the day we are faced with a choice,” he said, “either you are on the side of democracy or you’re not.”
By “populist demagoguery,” we not only mean Trump but far-right European politicians like Harald Vilimsky of the Austrian FPÖ, Matteo Salvini of the Italian Lega Nord, Gert Wilders of the PVV of Holland, Marine Le Pen of Front Nationale, and Germany’s Frauke Petry of AfD as well as others.
Such politicians above have little to no respect for cultural diversity because their political ideology is based on perpetuating white supremacy and privilege.
I must admit that I’ve been left speechless by Trump’s first week in the White House and how it threatens our core democratic pluralist values and world peace. The recent executive order to ditch the entire US refugee program and ban Muslims from traveling to the US from seven countries is one terrifying example.
It’s clear that the only matters that can save us from the 1% that has now taken power in the White House is our ever-growing opposition to them and their blind vanity.
In Europe, Trump has helped expose the hypocrisy of our politicians, especially those of the far right and others like UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who believes that Brexit has given her special rights to make a mockery of human rights and international law.
Are these Trump followers presumptuous? They believe their time has come thanks to the blowback of the US elections.
In all the political gloom there is a consolation: Leaders who disregard democracy dig their own graves when they start believing they’re immortal.
President Trump may have ushered in a reckless global era but it is up to all of us to stop him and his cronies.
What grade did you get in civics?
The next years will reveal to you if you passed or failed the course.