Written for Acculturated
November 10th, 2016
Forget blue collar white voters. Some liberals have discovered who’s really to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss: Taylor Swift. That’s right! Taylor Swift. The pop star is being criticized for her silence on the presidential election, with some calling into question her feminist credentials. According to their logic, Swift should have used her sway with fans to get them to vote for Hillary. Of course, that assumes Swift actually supported Clinton, something the generally apolitical singer has never given any indication of doing. And even if Swift did support Clinton, does she really have an obligation to share that with the world? From a business standpoint that wouldn’t be such a great idea. Swift would run the risk of alienating half of her base. But there’s another big reason Swift shouldn’t be expected to share her views with the world: Because the idea that a celebrity’s endorsement should matter is downright silly.
Taylor Swift is far from the first major celebrity to stay mum on politics. Cary Grant was possibly the greatest actor of all time, but most film buffs probably don’t know he leaned Republican and was a lifelong supporter of Israel. Grant believed it wasn’t a celebrity’s place to discuss his political leanings publicly, saying of the matter, “I’m opposed to actors taking sides in public and spouting spontaneously about love, religion or politics. We aren’t experts on these subjects. Personally, I’m a mass of inconsistencies when it comes to politics. My opinions are constantly changing. That’s why I don’t ever take a public stand on issues.”
I go to the Cary Grant well a lot in my writing (and life in general), but gosh darn it, the man has an insightful quote for every occasion!
Turning to celebrities for political punditry makes no logical sense. Simply because a celebrity expresses support for an issue or candidate doesn’t make the cause more or less right. With the exception of some on the left, that’s a lesson the American population seems to have heeded this election cycle. Despite having Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Bruce Springsteen on her side, among others, Clinton’s campaign fell short. Yes, she also had Miley Cyrus and Lena Dunham on her side, but I suspect their inclusion in the Clinton campaign was an act of sabotage by some Trump infiltrator. I’m personally inclined to do the exact opposite of anything either the fallen Disney star or actress with one mediocre claim to fame has to say, and I believe most of the nation is with me on that one.
Celebrities are private citizens, and as such are allowed to publicly voice their opinions. But after this election, hopefully more of them will follow Cary Grant’s lead and recognize that they their influence is precisely the reason they shouldn’t talk politics. Like Grant said, they’re certainly not experts on the matter, and the idea that someone might forgo researching the issues and making their own decisions simply because of what their favorite singer believes is a frightening prospect. As for Ms. Swift, she should continue to ignore the partisan critics; after all, she already knows that haters gonna hate.