Look! In the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! No, wait. It’s Donald Trump!
While Donald Trump may envision himself as Superman, London apparently sees him quite differently, and on July 12th, plans to launch (literally!) a novel anti-Trump symbol. Mayor Sadiq Khan of London has approved the flying of a giant balloon fashioned in the image of President Donald Trump as part of the city’s “Stop Trump” protests scheduled to coincide with the President’s visit to England. I admit I laughed when I first saw the orange balloon with the odd yellow hairdo and the big, white diaper. The implication is pretty hard to miss. Trump is full of hot air, a big baby, a whiner lost in space. My own reaction, however, gave me pause. Exactly what was I laughing at? What is that big balloon anyway?
Propaganda defined is any information or method, especially of a biased or misleading nature, employed to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. A WWII enlistment poster (“Uncle Sam Wants You!”) was propaganda; using actors, like James Cagney, to urge citizens to buy war bonds was propaganda; anti-Hitler leaflets dropped from aircraft overhead was propaganda. Our current propaganda isn’t quite as “in-your-face,” but it’s political persuasion nonetheless. SNL anti-Trump skits, anti-Trump or anti-Obama memes, foul mouthed comics at a White House Correspondents’ dinner, a crude actor dropping the “F bomb” live on television in protest of the current administration, a giant orange balloon with Trump’s face on it...all propaganda designed to make you think what the powers-that-be want you to think.
What might that be? There are two opposing attitudes here, one more compelling than the other, depending upon which side of the political fence you stand on. One could argue that London is taking aim at Donald Trump, the man, and not the Office of the President of the United States; one could counter that Trump and the Office are one in the same, despite all the “not my President” rhetoric. The “Trump Resistance” regards the Baby Trump balloon as a fitting act of protest, a flying insult, if you will, for all the world to see. Resistors are turning Trump’s own juvenile methodology against him. He is, after all, a man who consistently employs and responds to derision and visual antics (“I Really Don’t Care. Do you?”). Why not give him a taste of his own medicine? Trump’s followers, on the other hand, are predictably insulted by London’s balloon and view the flying protest as an affront to the President and our nation. To them, the Baby Trump balloon is libelous, offensive, and sullies America’s reputation.
Which opinion is correct? Is the Baby Trump balloon a justified protest or merely rancor in the sky? Should Americans be outraged by Mayor Khan’s approval of the orange blimp? Is civility between individuals and nations on the verge of extinction? If Baby Trump receives final approval and takes flight on July 12th, should we laugh, or should we cry? I have no idea. All I know is that Baby Trump in his “nappy” is akin to England giving the USA a great, big raspberry.