About ten months ago, the British Parliament, one of the greatest and most storied legislative bodies in history, decided they would have a debate about Donald Trump. They wanted to decide whether to let Donald into the country. The British like to do the right thing. They created a tough situation for themselves: you may look bad if you let him in, but then who are we to make decisions like that for self-promoters who are nevertheless private citizens?
You to admire them for their sincerity and concern for appearances. When you let a flim-flam man of Trump’s caliber and notoriety into the country, what will people think? Still, people will think a lot of things, no matter what you do. Hillary Clinton, who is even more corrupt in her way than the Donald, would have had no trouble if she wanted to visit. She might even have had tea with the queen.
Yet I cannot think of a worse example to set than to waste time talking about Donald Trump. We have to talk about him here in the United States, because the Donald has nominated himself, and then the Republican party nominated him, for high office. The UK does not need to spend even one second thinking about this man. Yet it voluntarily occupies all of its MPs with symbolic discussion about whether or not they should allow this showman with a big ego to visit their country.
It reminds me of U.S. college campuses, where activists take so much pride and energy to ensure only activist-approved people can visit the campus, completely unaware that they make themselves look like jerks, and their campuses look like some sorry version of 1984. What example does the UK want to follow here? Who is going to look favorably on the UK if its government starts to issue travel bans to keep out people they don’t like?
I’m sure a lot of people here in the U.S. wish the Donald would just go over there and not come back. Let’s say Trump requests an opportunity to speak to Parliament. Then the secretary could take about one second to say, “No thanks, we have too much heckling here in this chamber as it is.” But to launch a lengthy debate for the whole body, to consider the question of whether to allow him into the country? That’s the kind of showmanship Trump himself might like, on the principle that any attention is better than no attention.
Trump may be a master charlatan, but charlatans are small fish. His ego makes him think he’s a big fish, but that doesn’t make him one. We need leaders, not egomaniacs. Just ignore him.