Meryl Streep must have known what she was in for when she spoke out against Donald Trump at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night.
Conservatives were outraged that, during her acceptance speech for a lifetime of excellence in Hollywood, she referenced Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter during the campaign. Trump, indeed, emphasized the “bully” part of his public “pulpit” many times during his successful bid for the White House.
Streep used her pulpit to call him out.
“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,” she said to a nationwide audience.
Trump responded, as he does, with a tweet, calling her “overrated” (he’s wrong) and a “Hillary flunky.” That was the bugle charge for his supporters to trot the same “Hollywood elite” rap they use whenever someone in Streep’s position takes advantage of a moment to espouse a personal view.
Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain, took to Twitter herself to note: “This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don’t start recognizing why and how — you will help him get re-elected.”
Maybe. We’ll see how it looks in four years.
While we wait, though, it’s worth examining that whole “Hollywood elite” business.
I mean, didn’t Ronald Reagan come out of Hollywood?
I seem to recall an appearance by Clint Eastwood with an empty chair at the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa. I think he qualifies as Hollywood upper crust.
Didn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger make a few big movies before becoming the governor of California?
Jon Voight? I remember talking to with him at that GOP convention. He is conservative to the core.
When he served as president of the NRA, Charlton Heston wrote the 11th Commandment when he challenged Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore to pry his gun “from my cold, dead hands.”
John Wayne was Republican. Loved him in “The Alamo.”
Fred Thompson? Before he became the GOP senator from Tennessee, he was in “Die Hard 2” and “Crimson Tide.”
Bob Hope? Republican.
Chuck Norris? Republican.
Vince Vaughn? Republican.
Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Sly Stallone. GOP-times-three.
There are plenty more examples. Google tells a different tale than what conservatives were sharing on social media Monday.
To be fair, Hollywood — like all of California — trends liberal. No one is saying otherwise.
Liberals got a good laugh at Eastwood because what he did during the convention was, well, ridiculous. They laughed at Reagan, too, but I think the Gipper won that round. I don’t think anyone dared laugh at John Wayne. You can laugh at Chuck Norris if you want; I’ll call him sir.
Back to Ms. Streep.
She is an amazing actress and for Trump to say otherwise, especially in the way he did, simply proved her point about his bullying tactics.
But the same conservatives who say they don’t care what Hollywood folk say about anything would have stopped traffic to listen if Reagan, Eastwood or any of those others I mentioned were doing the talking.
Joe Henderson has had a 45-year career in newspapers, including the last nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. He has covered a large variety of things, primarily in sports but also hard news. The two intertwined in the decadelong search to bring Major League Baseball to the area. Henderson was also City Hall reporter for two years and covered all sides of the sales tax issue that ultimately led to the construction of Raymond James Stadium. He served as a full-time sports columnist for about 10 years before moving to the metro news columnist for the last 4 ½ years. Henderson has numerous local, state and national writing awards. He has been married to his wife, Elaine, for nearly 35 years and has two grown sons — Ben and Patrick.