BOSTON (CBS) – The great poet Robert Frost once wrote: “Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.”

And after absorbing the latest spasm of our country’s new national pastime – the care, feeding and escalation of mostly-minor grievances – I think I finally get what he meant.

I did not see Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes Awards Sunday night because I was wallowing in highlights of the New York Giants’ very satisfying playoff loss. Perhaps I’m one of the Neanderthals she seemed to have in mind when she noted how many artists come from foreign countries and speculated that “if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Actually, I like both MMA and football AND the arts, at least the ones that aren’t opera and ballet.

And I don’t hear anyone calling for all Americans of foreign birth to be kicked out.

Nonetheless, Streep did have a valid bone to pick with Donald Trump over his mocking of a disabled reporter during the campaign, a grotesque act he continues to both deny happened and refuse to apologize for. And her contempt for Trump was predictably returned in kind by the likes of Meghan McCain, the radio talk show host daughter of the senator, who tweeted: “This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won.”

This is how the grievance echo chamber works.

You diss me, or are perceived to have done so. I return fire, as scorching hot as 140 characters will allow.

Everyone chooses up sides until the ensuing flame war runs out of oxygen and moves on to another bogus topic.

Little or nothing of value was at stake, everyone dramatically overreacted, and nothing positive was achieved.

Those are the hallmarks of our grievance pastime.

And every second of every day, somewhere in American politics, someone is crying out: “play ball!”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Comments (2)
  1. Great speech by M.S. and she did achieve something positive and very important. She used an elevated platform to push back against the erosion of decency promoted by the illegitimate PEOTUS and his immoral minions. Americans who love our democracy should never accept the result of this hijacked election.

  2. Some will continue to attempt to delegitimize the 2016 election. This seems to be a habit of theirs. Every time an election doesn’t go their way, wah wah wah. The election followed the procedure defined in the U.S Constitution, and there has been no evidence, or claim for that matter, by any serious person, that something was done incorrectly.

    As for Meryl, she is a great actress and certainly entitled to her opinion. That doesn’t mean her opinion is correct. If she wants to look foolish, that’s her right also. Her, and others like her, are why a large number of people no longer watch or care about the endless parade of award shows developed to make those in the entertainment industry feel good about themselves.

    John, you made the right choice.

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