At the Human Rights Campaign Gala on Saturday night in New York City, honoree Meryl Streep didn’t back down from criticizing Donald Trump.
In January, Streep came under attack from Trump and his supporters after using her Lifetime Achievement Award speech at the Golden Globes to speak out against him and his policies. “It’s terrifying to put the target on your forehead,” she said. “And it sets you up for all sorts of attacks and armies of brownshirts and bots and worse, and the only way you can do it is if you feel you have to. You have to! You don’t have an option. You have to.”
The term “brownshirts” was first used to describe an early Nazi militia.
Responding to a tweet he sent out, Streep joked, “I am the most overrated and the most over-decorated and currently, I am the most over-berated actress, who likes football, of my generation.”
Streep received the Human Rights Campaign’s National Ally for Equality Award on Saturday night. During her speech, she referenced two teachers of her –one gay and one trans– for having a strong influence on her. “I am not going to introduce you to all my gay teachers, just some of the most influential personalities in my past, the memorable people who made me an artist and who lived, unnecessarily, under duress,” Streep said.
Streep insisted everyone had to answer the call to action. “We owe it to the people who have died for our rights, and who died before they even got their own. We owe it to the pioneers of the LGBTQ movement not to let them down.”
She then spoke about the progress that had been made in recent decades on human rights and equality.
“Amazingly, and, in terms of human history, blazingly fast, culture seemed to have shifted; the old hierarchies and entitlements seemed to have been upended,” Streep said. “Which brings us to now. We should not be surprised that fundamentalists, of every stripe, are exercised and fuming. We should not be surprised that these profound changes come at a steeper cost than we originally thought. We should not be surprised that not everyone is actually cool with it.”
“If his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter, we will have much to thank this president for,” Streep said. “Because he will have woken us up to how fragile freedom really is.”
Woke we are!
At one point, Streep referenced Trump as a “self-dealer,” and said, “The whip of the executive can through a Twitter feed lash and intimidate, punish and humiliate, delegitimize the press and imagined enemies with spasmodic irregularity and easily provoked predictability.”
Streep ended her emotional speech with a call “to live our lives with God or without Her.”
“All of us have the human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said. “If you think people were mad when they thought the government was coming after their guns, wait until you see when they try to take away our happiness.”
We are totally with her.