The Twittersphere is buzzing today with everyone’s opinion of Meryl Streep and her acceptance speech at the 2017 Golden Globes. She was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement award for her vast body of work and over forty years of contribution to the arts. In her speech, she chose to use that forum to discuss her political views regarding our president-elect, Donald Trump. Because this is Hollywood and political activism and opinion is mysteriously intertwined with entertainment, this was not unexpected nor particularly shocking.
What is rather surprising, however, is the vitriol now being thrown towards Ms. Streep for what was an apparently sincere and heartfelt plea for decency and kindness in a climate of hate and intolerance. Rather than listening to the actual message that she was delivering, it would seem that people who are blindly worshiping Mr. Trump, have decided that anyone who speaks one word against him, even in respectful tones, is “The Enemy” and must be criticized, ridiculed, discredited and yes, mocked. Which is the very thing Ms. Streep was objecting to in the first place. This is disheartening and, quite frankly, terrifying. When one cannot open their ears to hear, their hearts become closed also. I fear that this is what is happening.
There are those that believe Ms. Streep squandered the moment in the spotlight for a once in a lifetime award by discussing a political viewpoint. I believe that this, to her, was more important to her than her own achievement and therefore, overshadowed her own incredible accomplishments and talent. It is further unclear to me why so many have chosen to forget that Ms. Streep, like the rest of us, is an American.
Does she not have the right to speak up for her beliefs and disappointments. Yes, she has the “bully pulpit” with which to do so, but in the uniquely American way, she earned that pulpit! She has earned her place in the spotlight and has worked hard for the position she holds in Hollywood, in America and in our culture. She has the right to speak her mind and she has earned the privilege, through her over forty years of hard work, to do it from a far more public forum than most of us. That is reality.
Finally, although Ms. Streep is a very fine actress and can make even the unbelievable, believable, her speech seemed completely sincere and from the heart. She appeared to be truly affected by the childish and reprehensible display by Mr. Trump when imitating a disable reporter. It was, for me and many others, a shocking and disgusting show of immaturity and lack of compassion unparalleled from a public official. Further distressing, was the reaction of the audience who seemingly approved of his antics and laughed and cheered. Ms. Streep was correct when she conveyed her concern for our country and the people who believe this is ok. It is NOT okay. It will never be okay. As she said,
“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence.”
When people in power act like schoolyard bullies, those that follow them believe that behavior is acceptable and begin to emulate it. Where does it end?
Before you jump on the hate bandwagon, of Ms. Streep or anyone with whom you may initially disagree, please, just listen to their words. Maybe more importantly listen to their hearts. What is it they are really saying and where is it coming from? For me, I believe that Meryl Streep, political leanings aside, was speaking from her heart. I think her message was not one of hate or fear, but one of encouragement to us all. Be kind to one another. Be respectful of each other. Don’t tolerate hate from others and stand up, always, for the values of decency and goodness.