It’s going to be a strange four years.
The biggest story in the news this week appears to be the post-Golden Globes catfight that involves the most powerful person in the world.
Oh, and Donald Trump too, I suppose.
One of those glitzy deals where Hollywood types strut the red carpet and hand each other awards is a rather odd venue to lash out at the next president, isn’t it?
And it’s even odder that this next president, who one would think would be busy acclimating himself to the countless looming issues he must face in a matter of days, would spend his time hurling back childish insults like muddy snowballs via Twitter, referring to Meryl Streep as a “flunky” and “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”
Neglected to mention Ms. Trump’s mother wearing combat boots. You can’t have a good schoolyard spat without pulling that classic out, for gosh sakes.
Hollywood A-listers are crawling out of the woodwork to defend the actress in predictably melodramatic style, so we don’t need to dwell here on the reality that calling Meryl Streep an overrated actress is like saying LeBron James isn’t much of a basketball player, Jimi Hendrix wasn’t much of a guitar player, or Ferrari isn’t much of a car.
Streep blasted the president-elect for mocking a disabled reporter - shaking his body spastically and flailing his arms - during a 2015 speech.
Though she never mentioned Trump’s name, he didn’t seem to have any trouble recognizing himself in her comments, nor did anyone else.
For his part, Trump denies that he was shaming the man for his disability, claiming that he was only illustrating how he had the man “groveling” because of a story 16 years earlier that Trump feels had unfairly made him look bad. That’s a solid grudge there, 16 years. By the way, Kristen Finneran, wherever you may be, I wan’t my Partridge Family album from fourth grade back.
Maybe you buy Mr. Trump’s explanation, maybe you don’t. Even given the benefit of the doubt, it’s difficult to view this kind of behavior as presidential.
I can’t picture Barack Obama, either George Bush, or Bill Clinton - physically mocking someone in front of a crowd, out of spite. I can’t picture Reagan or Carter or Ford engaging in childish back-and-forth insults with movie actresses, come to think of it. Kennedy has his share of interaction with actresses, but that’s another story for another day.
I worry for the about-to-be president, I really do.
I want him to do well, we need him to do well. We should all be pulling for our duly elected leaders to be successful on our behalf.
But if you can’t emotionally handle any criticism, if you can only function when adored by all, politics may not be the game you want.
Fair or foul, the president-elect will, as every president has been, be picked apart, insulted, questioned, besmirched, attacked and even outright lied about at every turn. Trump’s done his share of it (remember the birther crisis?). He can’t be surprised.
The office, and the mission are too important to let become Celebrity Death Match: The Social Media Edition.
If there is to be some high-drama personal battle played out in public with every critic for these four years, it will get old in a hurry, and only distract from the business this country needs to achieve.
Attempting to intimidate and silence every journalist who dares question executive wisdom is not what we elect leaders for either, though there is nothing wrong with challenging them to be fair and factual, and plenty today would fail by that measure.
I do suspect that at some level, Mr. Trump realizes that Ms. Streep’s criticism has some ring of truth. Frivolous, baseless taunts wouldn’t sting a person so, to force such a bitter response, you would think.
You don’t have to be a political science expert to expect that some skills in handling criticism and conflict need to be learned to be successful - in that field or probably most any other.
• Someone in most of our lives at some point probably impressed upon us that courage isn’t winning every fight, but knowing when to walk away from one. If not, you’ve probably racked up some frequent flier discounts in the emergency room.
• Who hasn’t been told to own their mistakes? (I’m still working on that one, how about you?) Learning to apologize can get a person a long way. It’s hard to punch a guy in the face when he’s telling you that he was wrong and will try to do better.
• There are moments when you just have to get over yourself. Use a little humor to diffuse your challenges - life’s too short to take yourself seriously all the time.
• No pouting in the dojo. First page in every junior high coach’s handbook. Anyone who wants to grow, had better be able to take some criticism. You learn nothing if you only hear applause. My kids ensure that I don’t have that problem.
The president-elect seems to lack a filter, which may be the very thing that got him elected. Plain, tough talk may be a virtue for a tycoon or reality celeb, and clearly resonate with voters, but the campaign is over. It’s time for substance and not just showmanship.
Should we be looking to Hollywood celebs and award shows for our political opinions? No, we have our own minds and should use them. Should we accept bullying, belittling or social media as leadership? Nope there too. Civil discourse is not too much to expect. We can disagree and still respect.
That’s a lot to learn, and Trump is still very new to the political game. Let’s wish him well in learning to put responsibility ahead of ego.
Because this is real now, all of us will depend on wise decisions being made in Washington. It’s not a reality show any more.
For the record, it doesn’t take long to find a 2015 interview in which Trump gushes over Ms. Streep, calling her one of his favorite performers, “an excellent actress” and “a fine person.”
That was before Streep supported Hillary Clinton. Isn’t it funny how politics can change people’s opinions of each other?
Your choice of candidates makes you a lousy actor. Who knew? Strange, indeed.