One of the most outstanding facets of democracy as practised in the United States is the scope it provides for candour without fear of retribution. This was evident in the remarks made by actress Meryl Streep in her recent acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. She used the opportunity to remind US President-elect Dold Trump about the way he had mocked a disabled New York Times reporter in 2015, and to warn that a free press would need to be defended. What was remarkable was her reference to Dold Trump without ming him and yet leaving no doubts about who her target was. This is what she had to say: “There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks to my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter: Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” What Dold Trump had to say by way of response through a brief telephone interview was to dismiss Streep as “a Hillary lover” (Streep had campaigned for Hillary Clinton) and to assert that he had not seen her remarks or other parts of the Globes ceremony. The President-elect added that he was “not surprised” that he had come under attack from “liberal movie people”. He flatly denied that he had intended to make fun of the Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski. Later on, he tweeted: “Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night in the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big.” What must come as a great disappointment to most Americans must be the kind of President they are destined to have at least for four years.