Meryl Streep and Donald Trump-We All Lose

The Hollywood Foreign Press honored Meryl Streep this week at the Golden Globes. Her impassioned speech sent shockwaves through an already divided country. Depending on which camp you were in she is either a hypocritical phony who should shut up and act, or she is a human rights savior calling out the most evil man on the planet.

 

What is wrong with us? What is wrong with everyone that a speech made by an actress can put us into such frenzy? Why can we not disagree with something someone says without calling for bans and boycotts? And why can’t we agree without declaring someone a saint. For an opinion?!!

 

Of course, just to make matters worse, President-Elect Trump, her target, Tweeted his response using words like “overrated” and “Hillary flunky who lost big.” And people thought that was either an awesome response or that it is more proof that he’s a bully with a big mouth. No in between.

 

I understand the concern about his reactions. I understand his frustration regarding a media that clearly does not like him, but come on, Mr. Almost President, stop giving them so much to work with.

 

But back to us and the point about our conversations on social media. After Ms. Streep gave her speech in which she talked about disrespect inviting disrespect, I attempted to have a conversation with some Hillary supporters, you know those people who were going to go high when “they go low?” When I took issue with a few parts of Streep’s speech, I was told that Donald Trump and every last one of his supporters can go straight to Hell. I responded that it was not a very respectful response only to get another nasty and offensive comment aimed my way. There was no discussion about what I disagreed with. And by the way, I stated that I respect Ms. Streep, her talent, and believe her speech came from her heart. Still, I disagreed, and was willing to explain, but that didn’t matter. I should go to Hell.

 

Not that the other side is any better. I saw comments with the typical offensive names for liberals who live in Hollywood. I saw comments about how she was “destroyed” by this celebrity’s tweet or that celebrity’s comment. Ironically, these were the same people who said she was just a celebrity and should shut up. Those other celebs though, well, we like what they said so let them talk.

 

Then there were all of those pesky pictures being shared of her giving Roman Polanski, an admitted child rapist, a standing ovation. I mean if you’re going to set the Internet on fire, make sure you have covered all bases, right?

 

But you know who the problem is? Not Meryl Streep. Not Hollywood. Maybe, sometimes, not even Donald Trump. We are the problem. We are the ones who seem to have an inability to have civil and respectful conversations. We have become all about the mob mentality, well, the mob mentality on social media.

Oh, and our kids? They are paying attention, so when you’re telling people to go to Hell because they disagreed with you or you’re calling them losers or some of the other lovely names I’ve seen, your kids are watching. My kids are watching. This is what we are teaching them.

 

We can’t blame that on Donald Trump. We’re doing that all on our own.

 

Disagree with what she said. Love it. Discuss it. Debate it. Hash it out. But stop demeaning one another in an effort to make your point, to win the argument. Nobody wins, and what I see passing as discussions lately is just a lot of ugly talk that does nothing but make us look bad.

 

This one’s on us, not the celebrities, not the politicians, not even Donald Trump. This is all on us.

 

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Public Shame or Teaching Moments

A teacher in Smithtown posted something on Facebook and now, depending on who has your vote, she should either be fired and sent into exile or lauded for being a truth teller. Follow the truth telling claim with all of the reasons you believe anyone who supports Trump is racist, ignorant, uneducated, misogynist…well, you get the idea.

Its almost as if nobody has ever said anything stupid or outrageous on social media. If you happen to be on the wrong side of the sentiment you should lose your job and face public humiliation. Right? And let’s not forget if you’re on the right side of the sentiment you are a victim of liberal/conservative thought police trying to interfere with your rights. Are you confused? Yeah. Me too.

I’d put it in the “everyone sucks and is stupid” pile except it seems that there is nothing that can ever be discussed, you know, like in a reasonable way in which people are able to express different opinions. Just once I’d love to see someone, anyone, write in a comment section or on social media, “You know? I can see where you’re coming from.” I’d also like to see peace in the Middle East and the elimination of famine, but I’ll start smaller and hope to see more reasonable conversations.

So this teacher wrote something on Facebook that was stupid. Yes. I think its stupid because she would probably be the first person to denounce stereotypes or sweeping generalizations of any segment of society yet there she is declaring that she can spot the racists based on their Trump gear. That’s like saying…well, scratch that; I won’t start throwing out sweeping generalizations because I think they’re idiotic as well.

I don’t want to see this teacher fired. I have no desire to see her publicly shamed and then exiled to some far corner of the world. Instead I would hope to engage her in a conversation. I’d like to show her that it is possible to have a different opinion, support a different candidate, even vehemently disagree yet still realize there is more to who she is as a human being than who she plans on voting for.

Trump supporters have gotten some bad press. Yes, there are some who deserve it, but let’s not forget that ugly sells so are you going to see supporters in the news who are educated nice people? Where’s the fun in that? No. You’re going to get people who say and do things that are awful because that makes a great headline and sound bite.

Let me spare you the list of Trump supporters I know that are not googly-eyed monsters just as I’ll spare you the list of Clinton supporters who are not always the nicest people in the world. I have no need to denigrate either side. Instead, I will continue to hope to have a passionate discussion that includes actual issues and not just regurgitation of a media narrative or insults wrapped up as discussion points.

I’m sorry that this teacher believes that she can spot a racist based on Trump gear. I’m sorry that she would be so quick to judge a kid who may or may not just be mirroring a parent’s beliefs. What I’m really sorry about is that even with believing her post was dumb, it has opened up more ugly instead of a deeper, more meaningful conversation. Unfortunately, the lesson we’re teaching our kids is not that different opinions are ok, but that if you say the wrong thing, you’re going to get a public lashing. Wait. Isn’t that bullying? Hmmm. I guess this is a to be continued…