Members of the British Parliament have decided that when President Trump comes to visit the House of Commons in a state visit to England later this year, he shouldn’t be allowed to address Parliament in Westminster Hall. This, according to Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, is in defiance of Trump’s “sexism and racism.” With Trump’s past history of disrespect toward those who openly disagree with him, Parliament’s refusal to hear a Trump address is not only warranted, but sets a good example in defiance of his bad behavior.
It’s not even a question of whether or not refusing Trump is a good idea. Rather, the question is whether it’s something appropriate for another nation to do. American leaders wouldn’t let a tyrant from another country, regardless if they were our ally or not, come in and just assume they could speak and spread their hateful propaganda in one of the most sacred places of speech in our country’s government. In fact, this is how you lose allies — by assuming that what’s theirs is yours no matter how badly you treat them. My only concern is that if Britain takes this course of action and our other allies follow suit, the intended result may backfire.
Trump isn’t known for learning from his mistakes or even admitting that he’s made them in the first place, so what he may do is continue full speed down the path toward extreme nationalism and isolationism, saying “to hell with our allies, America can be great on it’s own.” This leaves America in a highly undesirable situation, where our nation has to deal with Trump on our own and become vulnerable to nations that aren’t our allies, like North Korea or Russia. This isolationist move also works to push away allies who were once willing to help, discouraging outside cooperation with those nations.
If Trump is going to be our president for the foreseeable future, then we need to police his behavior and as much as protests can make a difference in allowing people’s voices to be heard, world leaders need to step up as well. If this move from Britain sends a message that his behavior isn’t appropriate, then others should continue to say things like it and publicly. Trump shouldn’t get to trample people because he feels like it; like Bercow said in The Chicago Tribune, “an address to Parliament by a foreign leader [is] ‘not an automatic right, it is an earned honor,’” and Britain is 100 percent well within their rights to turn away a leader they don’t feel has earned that honor.
Trump has to learn that checks and balances are an integral part of not just national politics, but global politics as well. This decision from Britain proves it’s not just his own country that has to demonstrate this to him. Checks of power exist outside one’s own nation and if Trump has to learn respect for other places and people in this way, then so be it.