I’ve watched it at least seven times in as many days – Meryl Streep accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony. She knew she’d be in that spotlight, have the mic for a few minutes. There’s no competition for this award. One a year, and this year was hers. She used, spent, gave six minutes her very best as a consummate actor, as a wise woman. Took time to get her hair into an upsweep. Found a sleek yet regal gown looking like she was wearing a piece of stained glass art. Started out apologizing for having lost her voice screaming in rehearsals.
But Meryl doesn’t lose her voice regardless of how scratchy or clipped her words come out. The room and this watcher were riveted. With strength of character and poised conviction she used her place in the world to tell truth to power. Go Meryl! She spoke of the most stunning performance of 2016 when someone vying for the highest position in our country mimicked and mocked a reporter with a disability. “It broke my heart,” she said as she laid her right hand on her breastbone. She so eloquently reminded us that disrespect invites disrespect, that violence incites violence. Her clarion call to herself and her peers was to support the “principled” press to hold power to account.
I know why I keep replaying her mighty six minutes over and over. Why I’ll return to them again. It feeds me. It gives me a shot of adrenalin, a dose of courage, a helping hand to step into a lit up place and tell the truth. Mine won’t be anywhere near as bright as the staging of the Golden Globes. No string of newscasters are going to show clips of my convictions, no world leader is going to call me “overrated” on Twitter.
But I have a place. I have a voice. And Meryl’s courageous example inspires and reminds me I do.
Imagine if everyone would be so brave as to say out loud things their hearts need to be saying, things that need to be heard. That is how we change the world – each voice, in its place, telling the truth.