I like America. No, to be more accurate, I love America.
At last count I have been there 30 times and I never tire of the place.
I love its brashness; the enthusiasm of its people (yes, to be honest, they can go over the top); the way they strive to be the best; and the deep centred moral purpose of their nationhood.
Who can fail to be overawed by its scenery; from the western coast to the east shores there are hundreds of places where one stands dumbstruck by the grandeur of it all. I would live in Yosemite, if I could. I would be glad to pitch my tent by the side of Niagara even though soaked by the spray. I would sell my soul to regularly travel Big Sur. I would go daily to the wondrous Glacier Bay. And there are scores of other ‘I woulds’ I could mention.
Who could fail to be overwhelmed by the country’s man made structures. Its bridges, its skyscrapers, its monuments, and even its leisure parks, are a wonder. This is a nation with a manifest destiny.
And its culture pays homage to its status. Read the novels; watch the films; listen to the music; and view the art and you are in the presence of a civilisation which matches those great civilisations of the past.
At their best its people stand the test of the centuries. Few countries can compare with the oratory of its most famous citizens. I have grown old with the words of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Thoreau, Obama and scores of others, which roll around in my brain, never to be forgotten and ready to inspire me.
This nation is rightly the leader of the free world. In these centuries we have owed much of our freedom to it championing our cause and fighting by our side and we have felt secure under the shadow of its might.
And we British, sharing a common ancestry with the United States, regard our relationship as being special, above that with others in our world and we happily welcome its citizens for service to our country and we share our own in reciprocation.
We regard every new administration as providing an opportunity to renew our bonds; to further our mutual aims and to cement our friendship further, both for our benefit and the good of the whole world.
But then came Trump!!! This brash, self important, narcissistic, ignorant, bullying, man, unbelievably has become President. This is a man who sets aside all that is best about his nation; who cares nothing for its past; who believes in disruption as a guiding principle; and who eschews national unity for the sake of narrow sectional objectives.
I have heard nothing from him that leads me to respect him and I have seen nothing in his actions which I would have expected from an avowed Christian. All I have seen is behaviour which has the purpose of lining the already fat pockets of his corporate friends.
All this would not normally have encouraged me to protest against such a man as him, the world has seen many worse in my brief history, and I’ve taken part in more than my fair share of protests against them. No, what convinces me that protests against this man are just and should be encouraged are as follows:-
When the leader of the free world proclaims moral equivalence in racial matters and betrays fundamental racism, then it is time to stand and say ‘no’.
When the leader of the free world exhibits a shameful misogyny and a disrespect for women such as we have seen from him, then it is time to stand and say ‘no’.
When the leader of the free world shows a disdain for the truth and is comfortable with lies, not occasionally, but hundreds of recorded times, then it is time to say ‘no’ and proclaim that in the West we believe in the truth above everything.
When the leader of our closest ally demeans us shamelessly as a nation, and with purpose, then it is time to stand up to him and to such bullying tactics.
When this leader proclaims his belief in the Christian faith but behaves and speaks hypocritically then it is our duty as Christians to stand up and condemn him.
And, finally, when the President of the United States attacks and contravenes our purposeful belief in the basic tenets of a multicultural society then it is time for us to stand and say you are not welcome here.
This man betrays all that is good about his nation and I am glad that we have the opportunity to show our opposition to him and the hoodlums he leads.
So, this is not a comparable situation to official visits by leaders of corrupt nations. The difference lies in our unique and profound relationship with the United States. We have a moral right to say to the leader of an allied nation what you are doing is wrong and we resist you.
This, I believe, is why it would be right for me and thousands of others to protest and disrupt the visit by Donald J Trump. All power to them and may their voice be heard.