Monday, January 9, 2017
So, what did YOU think?
But I digress.
About halfway (or more) through the show, I commented to John that I was glad the majority of award recipients had chosen not to do political commentary and sarcasm. The election season was SO long this time and we know how divided we are in this country. We know that most of the people in the room were for Clinton. We know that those who oppose Trump loathe him and many of them do not want him to succeed because he was not their choice.
I get that.
I didn't have a choice this year, but I want Trump to succeed and I would have wanted Clinton to succeed if she had won because I want our country to thrive.
So, not long after I expressed how nice it was to not have to listen to political speeches, Meryl Streep (one of my favorite actresses) chose to use her time to make a political statement. And I cringed when she went there. I cringed the same way I cringe when staunch conservatives take shots at President Obama. Once a person gets elected, it is my belief that we respect the office; at least giving someone a chance to do some good things. No president does it all right. And no president does it all wrong. If Trump does it all wrong, his opportunity will expire in four years.
Yes, I cringe at things that come out of Donald Trump's mouth. And his tweets are not serving him well when it comes to his respectability going forward. He comes across so mean and vindictive; honestly, like a child. It makes me sad. And I wish someone could get through to him. But that's not the way narcissism works. I know. I lived with a narcissist for many years. When you cross a narcissist, prepare to be vilified, objectified, belittled and/or at the very least insulted.
In saying all that, I guess I'm just wanting it to be understood that I'm no Trump fan. I think he may be good for the economy and he may reinstate us to a more feared/respected super power in the world. But I'm no fan of him as a human being.
Nevertheless, when Streep started going in the direction of politics while accepting a prestigious award for her acting, I was disappointed. I wanted to talk back to the TV. I wanted to say, "Please! We know what you think. We know your candidate didn't win. We know! We know! We know! Can you just accept graciously and not use your time to take a shot???"
But instead, I listened to what she had to say. And you know what? I couldn't disagree with her on the subject of empathy and accountability. She didn't just take shots. She articulated her concerns regarding empathy. And I share those concerns.
A lack of empathy can be contagious. What we accept and embrace in our leaders will have an impact on our society. And Christians, perhaps more than anyone if we are to have any credibility or effectiveness in our witness for Christ, should be mindful of that. We should not resent her words. We should take them to heart.
Streep didn't do what Stephen Colbert does and go off on a belittling rant. She was focused on one thing. Empathy. And she made a very good point when she said...
"This instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."
She went on to say that we need the press to hold leaders accountable. But I would hope that we would all take our roles more seriously in holding others, including but not limited to our leaders, accountable for demonstrations of empathy, respect and kindness.
Streep contended that no community is more vilified than Hollywood, foreigners and the press. I don't agree with her there. I think she failed to include an obvious target, which is Christianity. But the way to counter her is to step up and show more evidence in our lives of true Christianity.
As followers of Christ, we should be champions of empathy and compassion, not making allowances and excuses for bullies. To lash out against Meryl Streep because she said some harsh truths about a candidate we may have voted for is doing what Donald Trump does. To be able to hear her words and acknowledge that those of us who voted for him had to make compromises with our faith and our convictions to give him our vote; that demonstrates integrity.
When we react defensively without being personally attacked, it reveals something inside of US. I will never forget my counselor asking me in a particular situation of conflict:
"Did you feel defensive?"
I said, "Actually, in this instance I did not. Sometimes I do. But this was ridiculous. There was no truth or basis for what I was being accused of. It was so far from what was in my heart that I didn't even feel the need to defend myself."
And he said, "Good. Because whenever you feel defensive, there's something you are protecting; something hit the target; a nugget of truth you don't want to confront in yourself. So you defend."
I had never thought of defensiveness this way. And I've used that as a tool ever since to gain insight into myself. If I feel defensive, especially when nobody is attacking me, I ask myself why I'm protecting myself instead of hearing what is being said; what I don't want exposed; what I may be feeling guilty about. It's a valuable exercise and it's helped me to grow.
Either way, have a great day!