Melania Trump is not the problem

Lots of indignation on Twitter and other parts of my social media echo-chamber about the £14 million it will cost to secure Trump Tower because Melania Trump will not be residing at the White House. In case you’re a little behind on this: Melania Trump is not the problem.

The problem is that the USA has a so-called President who is a narcissist fantasist, a self-confessed abuser, a misogynist, a racist, and a fascist, who has signed memos he has not read, who brain-farts threats and bullying on Twitter with no thought for the consequences, who has—through his utter unsuitability for and uninterest in doing the job he was elected to—handed power to the white supremacist Steve Bannon.  The problem is a National Security Advisor who wishes to “excise” Islam. The problem is an Education Secretary who has no experience or knowledge of education. The problem is Jeff Sessions. And the problem is that even if, as seems quite possible, a Trump meltdown leads to him vacating the Oval Office, he will be replaced by a religious fundamentalist.

Leave Melania Trump out of it, unless she actually does something genuinely worth commenting on. Indignation directed at her is, quite simply, judgemental misogyny. There are so many necessary and progressive targets of your rage. Don’t waste it and undermine your supposed progressiveness by indulging in this spite.

Cold comfort

What cold comfort the relatives and loved ones of the hundred plus victims and fifty fatalities of the latest mass shooting in the US must receive from the prayers being offered them from certain quarters. Senator Thom Tillis, for instance, started praying for them yesterday and, rather generously, is continuing to pray for them today. Senator Cory Gardner is both praying and mourning and Senator Joni Ernst’s prayers are with them too. Senator Bill Cassidy offers prayer for them, and also support. Senator David Perdue sends his prayers; the mechanism of delivery presumably being invisible sky-fairy postmen. Senator Tom Cotton offers not only his prayers, but the prayers of all his constituents: one assumes there are no atheists in Arkansas. Senator Pat Roberts also uses those sky fairies to send his prayers, also accompanied by his thoughts. Senator Roy Blunt eschews prayers, but actually appears capable of spelling condolences. Equally sparing with his personal prayer-time, Senator Mitch McConnell can’t find his own to offer, but does note that those of the entire nation are with the victims and their families.

Prayers—especially those contained within the Twitter word limit—are cheap, but votes, it would appear, are not: for these nine senators alone have received a total of $22,596,399 in direct and indirect contributions from the NRA in the course of the careers. If they had prayed for more guidance concerning 1 Tim 6:10 or Luke 16:13 they might, perhaps, have thought twice about receiving such vast amounts of money to vote down gun control laws despite the fact that a clear majority of Americans favour them.

Which mourning relative, which traumatized survivor, which gay man or woman afraid to go out with their friends, which—to be frank—decent person of any country, faith, or background will read these tweets and feel anything but revulsion and disgust at the cheap, vacuous, and hypocritical platitudes of the very people who have obstructed even the most tentative steps towards making this kind of horror less of an everyday occurrence?