Meryl Streep’s Message

Once again, the man who’s about to become president of the greatest nation on Earth has demonstrated his utter lack of class and self control, and his disrespect for the august office he will soon hold.

In the wake of a scathing, yet well-delivered speech by Meryl Streep at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards banquet where she called out Trump’s mocking mimicry of a disabled reporter last year, Trump lashed out on Twitter (no surprise there) calling Streep “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood“, adding that “she doesn’t know me, but attacked (me) last night.” *

Before I address Trump’s lack of a leg to stand on, argument-wise, let me first talk about him calling Meryl Streep “one of the most over-rated actresses”.

Really? Meryl Streep? It’s typical of Trump to assert that he knows better than everyone else in the world about… well, just about everything. But to call Meryl Streep “over-rated”?! I don’t think so. I think it pretty much goes without saying that if anyone was to ask who the world’s greatest actress is, 95% or more would agree that it’s Meryl Streep. The woman’s a brilliant performer. But, even if she’s not your personal cup of tea, it’s hard to argue with all the awards, accolades, and respect the woman has had heaped upon her by her peers, the film industry, and the movie-going public over the span of her career. In fact, she may arguably be the most acclaimed Hollywood actress ever. But then along comes The Donald who, for petty personal reasons, dismisses her as being “over-rated.”

Which begs the question, just how does Streep’s acting talent have anything to do with the merits of her remarks? If Jimmy Fallon had given that speech it would have been just as important. It’s so obvious that Trump insulted Ms. Streep’s talent simply because she spoke out publicly against his rude & crude behaviour. She hurt him, so he’s trying to hurt her back. It’s what he does. Someone disagrees with him, so he attacks them in a personal way in return. He’s so transparent that it is almost laughable. Almost.

Now, let’s address the accusations levelled at Trump in that speech… that he’s a bully. First of all, I’ve watched and re-watched the video where he imitates and makes fun of that news reporter. It’s pretty obvious that he was mocking the guy. Oh sure, Donald can try to dismiss it as just showing the man “grovelling“, but if that’s grovelling, then Trump’s a pretty bad actor himself. Anyone who has watched that video, if they’re honest, will admit that Trump’s physical and facial antics are unquestionably an imitation of a disabled person. To try to claim otherwise is just another of his bald-faced lies. But then, what’s new?

But, let’s say for the sake of argument that he wasn’t mocking the man’s disability, as he claims. Then, how respectful was it of him – a presidential hopeful – to portray another person as waggling their hands around in a helpless, spastic “grovelling” motion? What is he, nine years old? Mocking is mocking, and is most unbecoming of a future president.

As for Trump’s past record as a bully, let’s see. Just off the top of my head, he ordered a mother to remove her crying baby from a rally hall. He called all illegal Mexican immigrants “killers and rapists.” He loomed and skulked around behind Hillary at the TV debate as she was speaking, and spoke to her in a condescending way at other debates. He repeatedly taunted Marco Rubio throughout another debate, interrupting him and calling him “Little Marco“. He continually referred to Hillary throughout the campaign as “Crooked Hillary“, calling her “The devil”, and asserting that she should be “Put in jail”, threatening to do that very thing the moment he became Commander-in-Chief. He always referred to the press as the “Lying Press” and “Dishonest Media”, questioning their honesty and integrity. Yet never once did he own up to his own lies, exaggerations, and deceptions. Throughout his campaign he employed the tried-and-true schoolyard bully strategies of attack, ridicule, threaten, and demonize. And if that’s not bullying, then what is?

And to all those Trump supporters who say “So what?”, as if bullying is a trivial matter, I can only say that such a obstinate response to such aggressive and childish actions of a future president of the United States is a reflection of their own similar lack of civility and character. And that might help explain why the country is in such trouble.

As for Meryl Streep not knowing him, she – and for that matter every other American – has every right to hold Trump accountable for his unforgivable behaviour. He’s not a private citizen any longer. He’s a public servant, and hence an employee of the people. His every word and action are a reflection of his respect – or lack of it – for the office he’s been elected to serve. In fact, his own party made this very clear when it held Bill Clinton accountable for his after-hours dalliances with Monica Lewinsky all those years ago… behaviour that had nothing to do with Bill running the country. But they wanted his head on a platter, nonetheless. They insisted that the president’s personal behaviour was important enough to question whether he was fit to hold the office of POTUS. Well, what goes around, comes around.

You see, it doesn’t matter whether the citizens personally “know” Trump or not. He’s their elected representative, and therefore is beholden to them for everything he says and does for the next four years. They have every right to speak their minds if he does anything to bring shame, embarrassment, or impropriety to the position he holds. There’s no slithering out of his vile rhetoric, rude & lewd behaviour, and immature actions any longer. The days of doing and saying whatever the hell he wants are over. For the first time in Trump’s life, he’s responsible for others, and boy are they gonna hold him accountable for that!

I’ve read some of the tweets that followed Meryl Streep’s speech. Whether or not they agreed with her using the Golden Globes stage as a platform for expressing her views to the world, the vast majority (not surprisingly) agreed wholeheartedly with her message.

But I was also amused by the snide right-wing responses, which amounted essentially to “You democrats lost the election, so get over it.” I find this an interesting but naive and uninformed rebuttal because Streep’s message was not one of anger, dismay or regret that a Republican had been elected, but that the person who was elected is a bully, liar, and unapologetic asshole. I suspect that if a highly respected Republican like John McCain had been elected (sans Sarah Palin, mind you), we wouldn’t be hearing any of this outrage or disgust. Because McCain is a dignified and honourable man. I think that, even if they disagree with his policies, most Democrats would agree that McCain would make a fine representative of the American People. Trump, however, doesn’t make a fine representative of anyone, because everything he does he does only for himself. He’s a reprehensible excuse for a human being on so many levels, it’s not funny.

There were also a few angry tweets about Ms. Streep’s warning that Football and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) will be the only remaining things to watch if Trump kicks all the foreigners out of Hollywood. The touchy point, apparently, being her comment that, despite the use of the word Arts in MMA, they are “not the arts”. Interestingly, several respondents actually defended MMA as “the arts”, claiming that its fighters are talented athletes.

While I agree with Meryl Streep on this point, I must qualify my support. Football and MMA are sports, not arts. The definition of Art is “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in the forms of painting, music, literature, theatre, and dance, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”  On the other hand, the definition of a Sport is “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” I think it’s pretty clear then that football and MMA fall into the category of Sports, not the Arts.

But definitions aside, I honestly cannot believe that anyone would describe beating the living crap out of another human being as “an art form”. And, if they do, then maybe that flags yet another major divide in American “culture”. Some of us believe that art is an uplifting expression of the better aspects of humanity, while others believe that kicking & beating the shit out of one another is a beautiful thing. Very different perspectives, I’d say.

Besides, I believe that Ms. Streep was really trying to say that if all the foreigners are kicked out of Hollywood then we’ll lose the arts and be left with nothing but aggressive sports. I just wish she had phrased it that way instead of disparaging two forms of sport that millions of people enjoy, and that have nothing to do with Trump or his bullying tactics.

A few Republican tweets also accused Meryl of continuing to argue the politics of a lost election. But what she said on Sunday night was not a partisan political statement. It was an involved citizen with a recognized platform voicing her concerns for the plight of the office of the president… a noble and historic office that is being handed over to a tactless boor and two-bit showman. She was simply asking the three estates of the Hollywood elite, foreigners, and the independent free press to never let up on Trump, but to continually hold him accountable for the reputation and expectations that come with the office. To not let him bully or intimidate them into silence. What she said wasn’t political at all, it was patriotic!

And if any Trump supporters out there still don’t get it, then they’re in for a rough ride as their leader takes hit after hit from within and from without their great nation. Because he will no doubt deserve every blow he receives. They may have closed their eyes and held their noses when they voted for him, but the rest of the country and the world smells the stench and sees the garbage that follows this man wherever he goes. And they don’t like it one bit.

It’s going to be a long four years for America. His presidency is going to polarize the nation like never before. Putting up with Donald Trump as their president will be agony for anyone with an ounce of dignity, class, or integrity, or with any hope for the future of the USA as a respected nation. I’m sure that even Democrats are praying that the Republican party, as an organization, will eventually wrestle control away from Trump and render him nothing more than an embarrassing background figurehead. For the sake of all Americans out there, I truly hope they succeed.

I’m just sayin’

* By the way, in 2015, when Trump was asked if there are any actresses that he’s particularly fond of, he said for the record that “Meryl Streep is excellent; she’s a fine person, too” (he also liked Julia Roberts). But, then again, he doesn’t know Meryl Streep, so his opinion doesn’t count, right?

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About wordswithbrad

Let's see. I guess first and foremost I am a life wanderer on a journey of discovery and experience. Can you tell I am a child of the sixties? Along the way I have become many things ... a College Professor (now retired after 28 wonderful years), a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, a singer/songwriter, a musician, an artist, a world traveler, a fan of science fiction and history, and a student of human nature. But my greatest accomplishments are being father to two of the most amazing and accomplished young men I have ever known, and husband to the incredible and delightful woman who made that possible.
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