‘Respect’ is a two-edged sword

One of the most outrageous things that’s going on at the moment is the attempted appropriation of the moral high ground by Brexiteers and Trump. In the former case, they secured the approval of just over half of UK voters while in the US Trump actually lost in the the popular vote even though he won the Electoral College. And yet both sets of insurgents behave as if they had secured a 99% mandate. And Trump, being a narcissist, will doubtless start whinging that he deserves ‘respect’ when he takes the oath of office.

Well, two can play at that game. Trump denied Obama that vaunted respect when he was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie points out in a splendid New Yorker piece:

America loves winners, but victory does not absolve. Victory, especially a slender one decided by a few thousand votes in a handful of states, does not guarantee respect. Nobody automatically deserves deference on ascending to the leadership of any country. American journalists know this only too well when reporting on foreign leaders—their default mode with Africans, for instance, is nearly always barely concealed disdain. President Obama endured disrespect from all quarters. By far the most egregious insult directed toward him, the racist movement tamely termed “birtherism,” was championed by Trump.

Yep. So if the UK government invites Trump on a State Visit and he expects ‘respect’, then he should be treated with the same disrespect that we would have shown to Idi Amin or any other tyrant. And nobody should be surprised if Princes William and Harry refused to meet a man who once boasted that he could have “nailed” (i.e. screwed) their late mother.