Ewan Aitken: Listening to Trump supporters could just get us out of the mess he is creating

Donald Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban comes from the King Herod school of political strategy. Picture: PA
Donald Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban comes from the King Herod school of political strategy. Picture: PA
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For the first time in my life I am fearful for my future and that of my children.

The decision by the resident of the White House to impose an arbitrary, anti-Muslim travel ban (he said that he would “prioritise Christians refugees over Muslims”) is an expression of violence.

Cyrenians CEO Ewan Atlen

Cyrenians CEO Ewan Atlen

It comes from the King Herod school of political strategy – “I fear someone I do not understand because they are different, so I will hurt everyone to make sure I get the one I perceive as a danger”.

This is no way to build peace. It is a way to promote violence.

The words “environment regulations are out of control” is an act of violence against the earth on which we walk and the air we breathe. For him, earth is simply there for us to plunder while we can, not protect for the generations beyond our lifetimes.

He could be the tipping point about which scientists across the global have been warning for many years.

His misogyny, his nepotism, his walls, his “alternative facts”, his gagging of scientists, his capacity to reach new depths of shallowness and thin-skinned rage over perceived slights to his self-proclaimed brilliance radiate an instability that is unhealthy for everyone.

Yet it is not he who really needs our attention. Those who voted for him did so because they were tired and angry at the old order. They felt utterly disconnected from those in power, patronised, ignored, taken for granted. For them it’s been burning deep for a long time.

There are many who think he is doing a good job. His use of ‘executive orders’ to appear the decisive man of action keeping promises is incredible spin and story telling, for they rarely are as they are presented.

But others, already let down by those they chose to reject at the polls, now see that they again have been misled and lied to.

There is a crucial task to still hear those angry voices. We need to stand up against injustice and be in solidarity with the rejected. But beyond the White House whirlwind, violent and dangerous as it is, we still need to create spaces to hear those who voted for him, who wanted deep and lasting change, but now see he won’t bring it.

He does not listen but we can hear their voices, learn from them, be open to changing our perceptions, work with them to build a world where everyone matters, whatever their story and starting point.

It is in conversations with those with whom we disagreed but might now find common cause that we will overcome the fear that is the weapon of choice of the White House these days.

Ewan Aitken is CEO of Cyrenians