Should Celebrities Play a Role in the Political Election?
Political discourse and controversy seemed to be the theme of this year’s presidential election—and it seemed that each of us as citizens felt taken out of our comfort zones at one point or another.
As always, politics is the last thing that any of us want to talk about (at least in person, that is), but by the time July rolled around, and it had been declared that the Republican Nominee, now president-elect, Donald Trump, would take on Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, lines were noticeably drawn between the two parties.
As the months ensued, and the stakes grew higher, many American citizens turned to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter in order to voice their outrage.
Celebrities did the same.
Any time a celebrity chooses to use his or her platform in the public eye, to speak out against what they feel is an injustice, always sparks controversy. Most recently, just before Tuesday night’s election, Democratic Nominee, Hillary Clinton, held a rally with Jay Z and Beyoncé Knowles, in which the two widely praised celebrities voiced their support for the nominee.
Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi were also in attendance.
Katy Perry, another celebrity that didn’t shy away from her support of Clinton, performed her new single, Rise, at the Democratic National Convention back in July.
For many political candidates, celebrities are a tool used to make themselves connect with the culture of the people. Music, for the most part, is something that both parties can relate to and share the same interests in. It’s a way of drawing not only the youth, but people of all ages, into their campaign.
Donald Trump also had his fair share of celebrity support. Kirstie Alley came forward this past spring in a tweet that stated, “HELLO BOYS! This is my formal endorsement of @realDonaldTrump & I’m a woman!” This announcement, of course, did not go unnoticed, and prompted a social media discussion on the actress’s political stance.
Teresa Giudice, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star, made an appearance on Watch What Happens, Live! in early February of 2016. In her interview she told Andy Cohen, “Of course I’m going to vote for Donald Trump. I think he’s amazing. I think he’ll make a great president.”
Even Mike Tyson came out in a Huffington Post article that he is backing the Republican Nominee, saying, “Let’s try something new. Let’s run America like a business, where no colors matter. Whoever can do the job, gets the job.”
The popular country singer, Loretta Lynn, said to reporters, “I just think he’s the only one who’s going to turn this country around.” And Clint Eastwood, who has reported that although he thinks that Trump has said some things that he may not necessarily agree with, he’d “…have to go for Trump.”
But of course, none of this came without any backlash. Many argued that celebrities should just keep their head out of politics. Average American citizens just simply don’t want to see the stars get involved.
There is already enough bombardment in the media between politicians, the dangers and the risks of the election, that Americans need a break. Not only are we seeing scandalous headlines on the covers of big-name newspapers and magazines, but we are also seeing it every time we turn on the TV and log in to Facebook or Twitter. People get so turned off by the constant back and forth that they need an escape.
For decades, TV shows, as well as music, have provided a great sense of release for the American people, acting as some of the most popular forms of escapism. At the end of the day, Americans don’t want to see celebrities joining in on the action.
Not only does it upset Americans when they see their favorite stars disagreeing with their own political views, but it always takes away that sense of escape that comes with the entertainment these stars are paid to provide for us. They argue that celebrities are people too, and their opinions are of no higher value than that of the single parent next-door, or the woman who bags your groceries each week.
Albeit true, many celebrities don’t want to just simply be a pretty face for the cameras, never challenging any popular ideals. They have the power to spark change, start political movements, raise awareness to certain injustices, and inspire people who may be watching and looking to them as role-models.
In an election such as this past year, it’s important to remember that every
American citizen has an opinion, and not everyone holds the same opinion that you might.
It can be disheartening to see a particular actor or performer voice a viewpoint that varies from your own, especially if you look up to them, but, in the end, they are entitled to their opinion just as much as you are.
Is it really any different than the guy you went to highschool with, who posts rants about “Trump said this,” or “Clinton said this,” on Facebook every morning?
None of these opinions are solicited opinions—nor are they your own—but, either way, they are there, and we can’t turn away from them no matter how hard we try.