It takes the worst of times to bring out the best in nations. And the United States, a nation divided as never before by the election of Donald Trump, is rising to the occasion. His accession saw, for the first time, nationwide protests against an elected leader, led by groups who see him as a fake president who rants about “fake news”. His 100 days in office have been marked by a sea of green protesters outside the White House, opposing the proposed rollback of Barack Obama’s polices. And an immigrant stand-up comic roasted him in absentia at the White House correspondents’ dinner, an annual rite in which journalists and the president traditionally trade good-natured barbs.
President Trump bid a strategic retreat to be among the faithful in Pennsylvania. The guest of honour of the dinner, conspicuous by his absence, took potshots from a safe distance, advising the climate change protesters to “enjoy the weather” and assuring his Pennsylvanian supporters that he was “thrilled” to be “more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp” in a “better crowd” consisting of “better people”. He felt safer there, as Indian-origin Muslim comic Hasan Minhaj and the journalists organising the dinner roasted him while toasting democracy. The organisers asserted that they had gathered to celebrate democracy, and not the presidency. And Minhaj was on the button when he declared that America was the only country which would, in our paranoid times, allow a Muslim immigrant to tear into the president.
It could not have been otherwise, given the abrasive and abusive relationship that Trump has developed with the press. Equally, it was possible only because the American people, the media and institutions have refused to be cowed by government bullying. Freedom from fear is the chief guarantor of the freedom of speech.
Source : Roasting & toasting
Courtesy : Indian Express – Editorials