It has been 12 days since Trump became the fully fledged President of the United States of America. However, in those 12 days, America is looking less united than ever. His executive orders, from issuing gag orders on abortion and climate change to pushing forward with the highly criticised Dakota pipeline, have sent shockwaves across America and the world over. The most controversial of these has already done irreparable damage to the lives of thousands; this is, of course, the infamous travel ban.
This executive order has suspended the acceptance of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and from another 6 Muslim-majority countries for 120 days, including Iran, Iraq and Libya. These 120 days are supposed to allow time for ‘extreme vetting’ measures to be put in place. However, Trump will allow those of Christian faith to be accepted as refugees, a decision that has led to the ban being aptly renamed the ‘Muslim Ban’. This new regulation is said to be in place for the safety of the American people and was enforced with such haste so the ‘bad guys’ didn’t have time to get in.
The order has been widely criticised by politicians, international diplomats, CEOs and celebrities alike, as well as evoking a huge public backlash in the USA and the UK. The UK’s impressive reaction has been bolstered by anger at Theresa May’s inability to condemn Trump’s actions and attitude, with May being branded ‘Theresa the Appeaser’. Parallels have been drawn with previous politicians that chose to appease narcissistic authoritarian leaders, note: it didn’t work for Neville Chamberlain either.
The continued voice of the celebrity has garnered much high-profile media attention around these protests and lent its star-studded hand well to the cause. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Mark Ruffalo, Sia and even Kim Kardashian have used their influence to speak out against the ban, and encourage Americans to stand with their Muslim neighbours and those in need across the middle East.
Although the majority of the media has aligned with the sentiment of the protests, and those celebrities involved, there are of course some who have denounced their involvement as irrelevant and uninformed. It is no surprise that Fox News is one of such outlets, who went as far to say that A-list celebrities, like Madonna, were using the protests are a way to stay relevant with a millennial audience. This is a claim echoed in several similar articles and extends as a critique to all of Hollywood for their ‘self-involved’ contributions to the protests. There is an ongoing conversation that celebrities are too far removed from the ‘real world’ to have an opinion on politics; their protest appearances “like gods descending from Mount Olympus”, says presenter Greg Gutfeld.
Days until achieving MAJORITY disapproval from @Gallup
Bush I: 1336
Bush II: 1205
Trump: 8. days. pic.twitter.com/kv2fy0Qsbp
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) January 29, 2017
This is a predictable commentary from this facet of the media. Fortunately, it remains that as human beings, celebrities have the right to free speech and to use their influence to speak about whatever they deem important. The power of celebrity is currently holding strong the largest platform of dissent against Trump, which is more than we have seen from many industry leaders and politicians. With Trump taking a record 8 days to reach majority disapproval, and diplomats preparing an ‘unprecedented dissent memo’, perhaps we will begin to see some meaningful discussion within the White House. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.