Here at Aerende HQ, we’re all for peaceful protest. We fully embrace the ideals of democracy and free speech that allow us to march for (or against) issues we feel strongly about. But we also want to make our protests count. To really make a constructive difference to the world, and to be part of a movement that nudges dialogue forwards and towards positive social change. It’s a worry when protest movements that claim to be against division, distrust and ill-informed opinion inadvertently cause or display more of those things. With that in mind, we felt this week would be a good time to give pause to why there is so much noise and enthusiasm for the Trump Protest march, but so little for the other, very meaningful but perhaps less public ways we can pin our colours to the mast.
Our position is that if we really want to question Trump, we have to challenge him in a way that might actually have effect. And we have to make it practically more difficult for him to take certain paths. In an ideal world, we would show him that there might be another, more preferable way to use his powers of office. But all of that means behaving better, being diplomatic, getting more informed and, perhaps most importantly, using our purchasing power effectively.
Many of you will already know how passionate we are about the power of normal people to change the world simply by the way they shop. As Anna Lappé so clearly puts it, each time you spend money you’re voting for the kind of world you want to live in. And if we don't want to live in Trump's vision of the world, don’t we owe it to ourselves not to be spending money in ways that support his ideology? Likewise with our behaviour. It’s hard to feel the Trump baby is anything other than stooping to his level, and while hypocrisy may not be the worst of sins, the irony of a massive plastic balloon to draw attention to his calamitous environmental record, or the spending of £16,000 precious pounds on said ballon when there are people who don’t have food to eat, shouldn’t be overlooked.
So, if you’re marching on Friday for a world that’s fair, for children to be kept with their parents and a world not to be run on coal, great. If you’re marching for leaders who should be thoughtful, informed and open-minded, fantastic. If you can’t march or you’re feeling just a little bit uncomfortable about it, read on. We can all make a difference in our own ways, and there are so many actions, big and small that can help. Just remember, it doesn’t all have to be about an instagram post and a shouty placard. Let’s be aware of our own roles within the systems of inequality, and let’s try and challenge that from every corner, whether it’s from the street or the sofa.
So whether you do one of the above or all nine of them, we would love to see more people really living the ideals we want to see. Together we can make a difference but we have to vote with our money, as well as our feet, and in a considered fashion. We have to act in quiet ways that other people might not see. It might take more time, more research, more energy, but it’s worth it. These actions won’t just impact Trump, they will bring positive repercussions across the world.