Meryl Streep Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Laughing in the Dark

It is often the arts, serious or satirical, that expose the tragic absurdity of repressive leadership. And the more repressive Donald Trump's policies become, the more demand there will be for artists who oppose him.

LONDON – As a former Soviet citizen, I can tell you: it’s never a good sign for a political system when artists start speaking out against it. And when their statements visibly strike a nerve, chances are that the system is sick.

In a democracy, art can simply be ignored. Of course, one can appreciate culture, but that is a matter of choice, not necessity. Indifference is a luxury afforded to those whose freedoms are well protected. When those freedoms are threatened, however, art becomes a critical line of defense. The United States is learning that lesson today.

In just over a month, President Donald Trump has changed the rules of US politics – and not for the better. If the facts contradict his administration’s line – or, worse, suggest that he isn’t popular – he denounces the journalists who report them as purveyors of “fake news” and an “enemy” of the American people.

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