“And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform,
by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life,
because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
Disrespect invites disrespect.
Violence incites violence.
When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
– Meryl Streep
I have regained my voice.
It had mostly disappeared for this past week, leaving me sounding like a broken squeaky toy. In between taking tiny breaths, like I was using a sippy cup for oxygen, I sucked on cough drops.
I decided to be quite grown up in my approach to this, and, especially this past weekend, I mostly hung around at home, drinking tea, reading and deleting some of my thousands of photographs in an attempt to honour my resolution to clean up my photo mess.
Suddenly I felt the loss of not being able to phone any friends; this from a person who rarely phones anyone. But, like anything we can’t have, as soon as I realized I couldn’t do it…I needed to…desperately.
At one point I saw an old friend. My voice had recently morphed from squeaky to a whiskey-sounding-baritone. I gave her my best lounge-singer hello. “You had this same thing last New Year’s, ” she said.
I had completely forgotten that. I mentioned it to Kevin and we remembered other New Year’s where I started the year either silent or croaking. Clearly, there seems to be a bit of a trend.
And then I remembered my dad’s episodes of laryngitis. I can think of several times where he was rendered mute.
So is it only a cold? A coincidence? A family tradition? I’m not sure. But I am pleased to know that I am in stellar company.
Last night Meryl Streep used her very hoarse voice to talk about abuse of power. She talked about bullying and disrespect and how it incites further ugliness. In short, instead of talking about herself and her lifetime achievement award, she stressed the importance of speaking out against all that is wrong. She asked us to be vigilant against the culture of the President-elect’s passion for division.
So yes, I am happy to report I once again have a voice.
And like Meryl Streep says, we have to use it.
Let us choose to stand up, not stand by.
Be vigilant in your kindness. Exude fierce grace.
The world needs more Meryl.