Dear Ms May,
As a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom, raised in the former but settled for the past 15 years in the latter, I understand that you might be in need of advice on an upcoming event in your diary. I’m guessing it’s circled in orange.
Through a series of astoundingly unfortunate events in 2016 (fuelled largely by the right wing media with which your party has always had a mutually beneficial partnership), you have been bequeathed the unenviable task of meeting with ministers and world leaders whom you might very well despise. Whether it’s the mess in your own backyard (Brexit), or the circus that is the American presidency, you may be wondering whether you’re the prime minister or a zookeeper.
Whatever your personal feelings may be on the nightmare we now find ourselves in, you have decided to officially welcome into this country, aided by taxpayer money, a man whose hobbies include pussy-grabbing, poking Putin with a stick, extraneous use of the exclamation mark, mocking the disabled, locking migrant children in cages, speaking in self-aggrandising superlatives, and provoking rogue nations with nuclear weapons on Twitter. This walking, talking ego you call the President (because he’s certainly not mine) would like to dismantle NATO, the United Nations and pretty much every system of global collaboration that has been set up in the post-war years. Trump hopes you fail in your bid to maintain ties with the European Union in some shape or form, because he despises all that it stands for: cooperation, peace, unity and respect. Once Britain is on its own, isolated from all its allies except for the big bully across the pond, Trump will gladly slip the leash round your neck and take you for a walk, where he’ll teach you very quickly how to perform the only command he knows: heel.
If, however, you want to retain even a shred of Britain’s global dignity, you must assure us that this country still cares for and fights for everyone equally, including the underprivileged and vulnerable. Much like our beloved NHS, in which I am a frontline worker, there is little else that inspires the ire of the British populace than threats to undermine or destroy it. Despite apparent cracks within our society, despite the differences and divisions, we are almost unanimously united in our conviction that the NHS deserves our attention, funding and gratitude. And if we can feel that way about a healthcare system that was based on principles of equality, regardless of nationality, race or wealth, we can find a way to come together on the other tough issues facing us today. It feels touch and go at times, and our pulse may be thready, but I firmly believe that Britain will be able to transcend this sickness, in the words of an NHS poet. The United States, I’m not so sure about. Right now, it appears to be approaching the terminal stages.
On Friday, let President Trump know that Britain will not tolerate the human rights abuses being perpetuated by his administration. Tell him with no uncertainty that if Roe v Wade is overturned by way of his new Supreme Court appointee, that if women’s reproductive rights continue to be stripped away at an alarming rate, Britain will no longer stand by and abet the United States’ crimes. On Friday, let President Trump know that if he starts World War III with his abject lack of diplomacy, decency and dignity, then Britain will no longer be able to uphold its end of the ‘special relationship.’ Because like all relationships, when one party becomes an aggressor, the equilibrium is forever destroyed.
There’s no going back from defending a man who locks children in cages and bans an entire religion from entering his country. There’s no going back from turning the other cheek when the leader of the ‘free world’ admits to sexually assaulting women. There’s no going back from remaining silent while white nationalists in both countries swell in numbers and confidence. Once the heroes, we will be rewritten as the villains in our grandchildren’s history books if we allow our two nations to slide into farce and fascism.
So when you walk into that room on Friday, Ms. May, and look that pathetic excuse for a leader in the eye, I hope you find it within you to forget the protocols and find your courage; to forget the politics and find your humanity. If you fail to do that, you have failed not only yourself, but all of us.
An Angry American Midwife in London