Last night Meryl Streep gave an incredibly powerful speech at the Golden Globes Awards in which she criticised Donald Trump for mocking the disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski in November 2015 and now Trump has responded, via Twitter, by branding Meryl as ' the most over-rated actress in Hollywood' giving a clear example as to why, in my opinion, Trump becoming president is one of the most worrying events to occur in our life time.
In her speech, which brought me to tears, Streep said: "That instinct to humiliate, when it's modelled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone's life because it gives permission for others to do the same. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose."
And now Donald Trump, who will in a matter of days be the elected leader of the Free World, exercised 2017's most basic human right, by turning to Twitter to respond. In a string of tweets he said: "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a..... Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him...... "gorveling" when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!"
The first thing wrong with this to my mind, is that he spelt 'grovelling' wrong, but that's not really the point.
The point is this: social media, in the grand scheme of things, is a relatively new phenomenon, I remember quite clearly getting it for the first time and the novelty is still yet to wear thin. In lots of ways it is wonderful, it gives more of us a voice, allows us to keep up with people that we may not otherwise know and, as Trump has shown us here, gives everyone a chance to use their most basic human right: freedom of expression.
But since it is still a relatively new thing, there are elements of it that are worrying and that we don't understand totally yet. Most notably for me, is the act of online trolling. The bullying that happens online is all too common and is proving to be an incredibly dangerous thing, as we read more and more stories of young people who have been driven to depression and even suicide as a result of the bad behaviour of others online.
There are those who are working tirelessly to try and stamp this out, anti-bullying charities and campaigns which try to educate people about social media and even sites like this one which encourage kindness online. But nothing's really worked yet. The online world is still pretty nasty, and now it's pretty clear to see why.
When a beautifully made up woman tells her teenage daughter that she can't wear makeup, her advice will probably not be taken as she has no moral high ground on which to stand. When a father tells his young son not to smoke as he reaches for a lighter, you can again, expect his advice to be ignored. So what happens when we tell kids to be nicer online, when the future President of the United States has resorted to cheap insults via Twitter? Rest assured, they won't listen. Why should they?
"Do as I say, not as I do", that's what the older generation says right?
Well it hasn't worked in the past, and this will not be an exception.
When someone bullies online, they are showing immense cowardice. They are as good as admitting that they are not brave enough to either let the situation go or, as is probably sensible, deal with the issue head on. The other thing a person does when they bully online is show an incredible insecurity. Often not something that can be helped, but in this instance, when the obvious lack of self-belief comes from a man that America have chosen to rule their country? Well that's a whole different kind of worrying.
I am so surprised that Donald Trump still has control of his Twitter account. I would have assumed that after the fifth tweet slagging off prime time television and making bad 'jokes', his advisors might have deemed it sensible to seize control from him. Surely, they must have thought, SURELY, this can't be the example that we can allow him to set? Surely this will undermine his position? Surely this isn't sensible? Well sadly it seems they are as moronic as he is, as the tweets keep coming.
This is a guy who is supposed to be out negotiating peace deals and creating jobs and ensuring that his country is safe. He is, by all accounts, the most powerful man in the world. And yet on his iPhone he sits, as bad as the girls at the back of a year 9 classroom. 'Worrying' doesn't even begin to cover it.
I do not like Donald Trump, in case you couldn't tell. I cannot believe he is President and I did, honestly, have a little cry on the day that he was elected as it made me properly worry for the future. Now, after the dust has settled I can only hope that the term 'most powerful man in the world' is a gross exaggeration and that in his time in office, he will not be able to actually do too much. But still the worry is there for the reason that Meryl Streep pointed out: 'Disrespect invites disrespect.' See for yourself, his tweet has 17000 retweets. That is 17000 people totally justifying his behaviour.
Whatever happens to America now, with his presidency? I don't know, it's out of our control. I suppose we keep our fingers crossed. But what happens now, to us? To our kids? We can't just cross our fingers. We have to call out this behaviour for what it is: childish and cheap and NOT the way anyone should behave.
I can't believe that parents of today are going to need to say this, but might I advise the following sentence to be used when appropriate: "no, just because the President does it, it doesn't mean that you can..."
I despair, I really do.