Commentary by Jameson Filston, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor
As the awards season winds down, with the Academy Awards coming up on Feb. 26, it becomes important to reflect on what some of our country’s most influential people are choosing to do with their publicity. Awards ceremonies provide a time to thank others, but also the opportunity to further a personal cause.
On Jan. 26, Meryl Streep took part in the growing trend of using her celebrity to criticize the president.
According to the Washington Post, Streep gave her speech in response to Donald Trump’s apparent mocking of a disabled reporter. Streep said Trump’s performance broke her heart.
Streep’s comments were those of unity. She supported a man who Streep described as someone outranked in privilege and power.
Streep is not alone in her attempt to gain support with her position. The cast of Hamilton made a splash in November when they appealed to Vice President Mike Pence after a show, and expressed their hope that the show had inspired Pence “to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
The Screen Actors Guild awards became politically charged as well. The New York Times wrote that the winners at the SAG ceremony repeatedly lashed out at Trump’s immigration policy. Accepting her award for best actress in a comedy series, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, gave a pointed response to Trump’s actions.
“I’m an American patriot.” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I love this country, and because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American.”
This merits the question of why so many actors are using their moments of glory in order to talk about someone else.
When the people elected such an inflammatory and divisive president, one who repeatedly provokes and threatens the peace of mind of groups such as minorities, those with disabilities, and other people who are powerless on their own, they caused people to unite behind them.
People often call celebrities who advocate for climate change hypocrites because of their lavish life style. However, these advocates cannot be called hypocrites because they are among those whom Trump targets.
”We are the diverse America,” said the cast of Hamilton as quoted by the New York Times. These people are qualified to speak out because their friends, family or even themselves are directly affected by the comments and restrictions of Trump’s administration.
“It kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing,” Streep said about what she describes as bullying behavior by Trump.
These people are not hypocrites or people seeking attention. They are citizens of the U.S. who have given up a moment of recognition in order to speak about an issue that they find important. Many received personal attacks from the President for their outspokenness.
The Washington Post reported that Trump called Streep overrated and dismissed her as “a Hillary flunky who lost big.”
Award winners have made a trend, but they have made it clear that they will stand up to controversy no matter where they stand. Those who speak against division will have to remain united in order to be heard, and that is exactly what they have done so far.