I had to let this one process for awhile before I felt like posting.
A few weeks ago, I convinced my son and his friend to go with me to London for the day. I was going to museums, and they were free to do what ever. Not keeping up with the news as I probably should, it was brought to my attention that the POTUS would also be in town on the same day. London is a big town, I figured there was room enough for both of us and I doubted very seriously he would be museum hopping.
Once aware of his visit, I also became aware of the strong reaction he was receiving from the UK public. I knew he was someone the British people were interested in when I came over in September of last year to get Drew settled into his first year of college at the University of Kent in Canterbury. I was asked, once people confirmed my place of birth, NUMEROUS times, “What do you think about your president, then?” This is the question verbatim. I was asked this question when I visited again in November, and I have been asked this questions MANY times since I arrived this summer. They don’t usually wait for a response before launching into a diatribe about \their own thoughts on the subject.
I have visited England quite a few times since the age of 15. I have never ONCE…e v e r been asked to explain my president. Not Reagan, not Bush, not Clinton. Never. But suddenly, I am asked to do it now. It’s interesting that they are so fascinated by Trump. There was a TV show on their airwaves in September called, “Trump. The First 100 Days.” There is one on now called something like…”Trump. After the First 100 Days”….or close to that…ANYWAY. Ironically, this is on the TV right now…
How many Americans, if asked, could tell you who the leader of the UK is. Seriously. Or of France, or of Switzerland….not much coverage is given on other countries’ leaders in the US. But, the British public seem to be familiar with Trump’s policies and actions AND have an opinion about them.
Now, let’s go back to my London day trip…the day that the UK public decided to protest the POTUS’s visit to their country. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. You now, I’m a freedom of speech kinda girl. You have a right to your opinion, etc, etc.
What I wasn’t prepared for was my reaction to this. My heart hurt to see the American flag hung upside down, thrown unceremoniously up in the luggage rack of the train.
The kids sitting next to us were going to make their voice heard as were MANY people, I soon realized once our train arrived at St. Pancras station. Hearing the anti Trump rhetoric was hard. To have our president, the OFFICE OF PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA was hard to hear as AN AMERICAN in a foreign country. Despite my political views, hearing and seeing this disparaging talk was NOT FUN. It was hurtful and I took it personally.
This sign has an interesting story attached to it. Two people were playing music really loudly on a speaker , holding this sign and another protester from the socialist group went up to them and began asking them to put it up as it was “racist”… she reminded them they weren’t there to protest Americans, but to protest Trump and that their sign was offensive. Interesting juxtaposition, don’t you agree? I don’t think half the people knew what they were “protesting” , but there sure were a lot of them.
I talked to a few British people, some who were there specifically for the Trump thing, others just there visiting and some who worked there. They were all kind, helpful and not hateful toward me in any way, even after they found out I was American…and they did ask…
BUT, none of this dampened my day at the museum. So there.