It has been interesting to see the reaction to Meryl Streep's recent Golden Globes speech, which called out Donald Trump's behavior without even using his name. What she said seemed, to me, to not be something that most anyone could really be offended by. It could really be distilled to this:
And 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.
On closer inspection though, it doesn't seem like it was the things she said that bothered people, it's that she said anything at all. The commentary was generally along the lines of, "She's an actor, she should stick to entertainment!" There's a bizarre double standard that we hold for our celebrities. When they screw up, we criticize them for not being role models. Yet, when they don't screw up, and in fact achieve things in their profession, we criticize them for speaking up. That's pretty weird, right?
But then, this seems to connect pretty well with American politics in the last year, and in fact Streep's point, that it seems to be increasingly OK to marginalize those who are different or don't agree with you. Disagreement is not the same as marginalization. It's not even a political issue. The economy, national security, whatever... it's all secondary when people in positions of authority use their words to marginalize groups of people based on gender, ethnicity, race, religion or sexuality.
I've been called out twice recently for speaking my mind, and accused of much the same thing. And sure, I'm basically nobody. But the one title I have that counts is father, and I take it very seriously. I have a child that is a little different, and while I'm the last person in the world who wants to hover around him and try to defend him from the bullshit he will inevitably encounter, it's important to me that he learn by example that the truth allegedly held self-evident, that all men are created equal, must not simply be a slogan. We have to stop rationalizing going after every person who isn't like us, because that's what it is.