Expanding Activism

Donald Trump is uncomfortably close to the Oval Office, and people from all walks of life are stepping up through creative forms of activism to stop this from happening. In the past several weeks, several different entities have been taking away tools that Trump has used to prove his legitimacy, take down Hillary, and attempts to prove himself to be #young&hip.

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Queen on Donald Trump’s use of We Are the Champions

During the Republican National Convention (RNC), Trump walked out to a rather presumptive use of the classic song We Are the Champions by Queen. In response, the band tweeted that the use of the song was “against their wishes” and unauthorized. Despite several public pleas from the band, Trump and his campaign decided to use the song anyways. While guitarist Brian May claimed that they don’t allow the use of any of their songs in political spaces when they were first approached about the use of the song in May, Adam Lambert, who is currently traveling with Queen, turned the argument in a political direction. He stated “If your political party spends decades treating gay people as second-class citizens, guess what: You don’t get to use Freddie Mercury’s music at your convention,” Lambert, who is also gay, wrote on Twitter. Freddie Mercury, who wrote the song, is one of the most prominent celebrities to die of AIDS. This form of activism is both impactful and prominent. It condemns the republican party as a whole, takes away Trump’s legitimacy as a “champion” and points to one of many blunders, including several legal issues, that happened throughout the Republican National Convention.

Pavarotti’s Family on the use of Nessun Dorma

Luciano Pavarotti’s family told the Trump campaign to stop using his most famous song, Nessun Dorma, in his election campaign. The song has been played at several Trump rallies, but Pavarotti’s family wants it to stop. “As members of his immediate family, we would like to recall that the values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the world view offered by the candidate Donald Trump” the statement said.

George Harrison’s Estate on the use of Here Comes the Sun

Similarly, the George Harrison estate tweeted that “the unauthorized use of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ at the RNC is offensive & against the wishes of the George Harrison estate.” On the other hand, they tweeted “If it had been ‘Beware of Darkness,’ then we MAY have approved it! #TrumpYourself.”

The Rolling Stones on You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Same story, they tweeted: “The Rolling Stones do not endorse Donald Trump. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was used without the band’s permission.”

All of these people have been using their amazing power as musicians and as celebrities to dismantle the Trump campaign, one song at a time. Their actions show the broad diversity of forms of activism. They encourage activists and young people to take creative approaches to make change, and to use the tools that they have available to them to work on making the world a slightly better place.

I would like to point to one last example, that takes a more serious tone, but perhaps one of the most beautiful approaches to dismantling the Trump campaign I have seen so far.

A Mother’s Complaint About a ‘Cynical Use’ of Benghazi

In a Letter to the Editor published in the New York Times, Mary F. Commanday, the mother of Ambassador J Christopher Stevens, requested that the Republican party stop using her son for their own benefit. Ambassador Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya, during the Benghazi attack in 2012. The Republican party has used Stevens’s story to shame Hillary and attempt to steal votes from her. Commanday’s letter reads:

To the Editor:

As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s mother, I am writing to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi, Libya, by Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party.

I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign.

MARY F. COMMANDAY

Oakland, Calif.

Note: This post is obviously not specifically about genocide prevention. However, Donald Trump has been spewing genocidal ideology (check out this New York Times blog post for one of many examples) so countering his rhetoric in many ways can be seen as anti-genocide activism. 

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