Watch Streep’s speech first below. I’d like to make two broad points about what she said.
… who disrespects disabled people
Some brief background information first. Serge Kovaleski, whom Donald Trump mocked is a successful high profile journalist who won The Pulitzer Prize. That is to say, he is vastly more successful than 99.99% of people in the world, regardless of their health status. He’s probably a millionaire, and is definitely a member of the elite. I don’t doubt his success and his ability to get things done in life.
Did Trump mock Kovaleski? Yes. However, as per this video - youtu.be/5aYFC_7ZIn4 - it doesn’t seem to be any different from the way he mocked Senator Ted Cruz. This makes it somewhat likely that Trump mocked him not for the reasons of his disability. Trump’s an asshole: hardly anyone would disagree with that. However, he gave Kovaleski the same asshole treatment that he would give anyone else. He didn’t treat him any differently because of his disability.
Now, how about Streep’s attitude then? It seems to me that she wants people with a physical disability to be treated differently: with more sensitivity, and more kindness. On the surface, it’s hard to see that as a bad thing. After all, the world would be a better place if we are kinder to each other. However, let us examine the underlying beliefs one must hold in order to believe this.
In my opinion, this demonstrates a pernicious attitude of superiority and pity that Streep holds towards Kovaleski. She wants him to be treated like a child, instead of the successful and gritty adult that he is. Does she really believe that this man was able to rise to the top of his profession, yet be unable to laugh off a sad attempt at mockery? In demanding special treatment for Kovaleski, Streep displays a profound attitude of disrespect for his ability, his achievement, and his strength of character. This belief is causally related to his disability. An ableist is someone who displays prejudice towards someone with disabilities. Despite her good intentions, I cannot see how Streep is anything but an ableist.
… and completely misses the big picture
In 2016, Donald Trump mocked a disabled person and everyone lost their mind. That same year, Obama’s administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs in seven countries youtu.be/77Vx2HXYzFk which killed numerous people. Doubtless, this maimed more people than Donald Trump can mock in a lifetime. Mocking people is not nice. Murdering people with drones and bombs is much worse. Perhaps the newly created disabled people aren’t worth a mention for Streep because they’re the wrong color, or have an unimportant geographical location? Or perhaps, they aren’t members of the elite?
Shed a fucking tear, Meryl.