I’ve always admired Meryl Streep, but never more so than last night at the Golden Globes. Awarded the annual Cecille B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to entertainment,” Streep declined to use her acceptance speech on herself and instead used it to speak to the elephant in the room. The elephant in every room these days: the new President-elect.
It was a thoughtful, respectful, and much-appreciated use of the global platform she was privileged to command on the eve of the inauguration of a fellow entertainer. Streep is a movie star; he’s a reality TV star.* She spoke to his showmanship.
“There was one performance this year that stunned me,” Streep said. “It sank it’s hooks into my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did it’s job.”
She called him out, without ever doing so by name.
“It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head — because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life.”
It broke many of our hearts. We’re having trouble adjusting to this new “real life” and our hearts break a bit more with every bully Tweet he makes, including this one this morning in which he personally called out Streep for her stand. (Apparently, he doesn’t have anything better to do during a week that “Could Be The Busiest and Most Consequential Before He Takes Office.” Nine of his Cabinet appointments will begin their confirmation hearings in the Senate, he’s preparing for his first press conference in 167 days, and getting ready to move himself into the White House next week if he can bear to leave his gold-gilded penthouse.)
“When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose,” Streep said.
Thank you, Ms. Streep, for giving voice to millions who want the world to know that most Americans did not vote for this man, and we have grave concerns. We are watching. We will speak out against his lies, his bully behavior, injustice and abuse.
Actress Viola Davis, who presented the award to Streep, said this in her introduction. “Her (Streep’s) artistry reminds us of the impact of what it means to be an artist, which is to make us feel less alone.”
That’s exactly what Streep did last night. She made us feel less alone.
*Need we remind critics — who say actors shouldn’t talk politics — of these entertainer-turned-politicians? Ronald Reagan, Sony Bono, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fred Grandy and Al Franken.