The Observer

Celebrities Should Not Have Opinions

Never, Ever

I+knew+Swift+was+trouble+when+she+presented+an+opposing+view+from+mine.+Now+we%27ve+got+bad+blood.
I knew Swift was trouble when she presented an opposing view from mine. Now we've got bad blood.

I knew Swift was trouble when she presented an opposing view from mine. Now we've got bad blood.

EVA RINALDI VIA FLICKR

EVA RINALDI VIA FLICKR

I knew Swift was trouble when she presented an opposing view from mine. Now we've got bad blood.

By OWEN ROCHE, Opinions Editor

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I’m sorry, the old, apolitical Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh — because she’s a Democrat.

2009 was a simpler time. On Sept. 13, on national television, rapper Kanye West snatched the microphone from up-and-coming pop-country darling Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards and insisted that indeed, he would let her finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. It was delicious drama, a high-profile feud that would satisfy the population for months on end.

It’s 2018, and Swift and West are once again in the headlines. No, West didn’t storm another stage to feed his fans’ appetites for zany antics (as of printing). Swift didn’t rehash an old relationship for the public’s enjoyment, either. They did something worse: they voiced their opinions. Worse yet — political opinions.

The fun’s over. Thanks Taylor, now the world knows you’re anything but red.

Nine short years from that fateful VMA broadcast, it’s clear that Taylor Swift’s recent endorsement of Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee has hit a nerve. Never mind that Kanye’s scarlet headgear habits as of late only bolster his reputation for erratic and inflammatory public statements. But we expected more from Taylor. Who could have imagined in their wildest dreams that the singer-songwriter would keep up with current events, much less formulate and express her rational, well-articulated views on politics?

A powerful and — worse yet — popular woman in America thinks she has the right to weigh in on the state of the nation? This is why we can’t have nice things.

Reception of Swift’s brazen partisanship has been rightfully chilly. President Trump has been confirmed to listen to her music a whopping 25 percent less because of it, moving her hit “22” down at least eight spots on his Golf Jams playlist. “Getaway Car” on Putin’s personal mixtape gets skipped almost every time, per top White House sources. Scathing treatment on the national stage, but warranted — there was a delicate balance in the entertainment world, and Swift has created major bad blood with her refusal to be completely ignorant of local elections and the American two-party system.

How can we restore order and reestablish the blank space between artists with opinions and the rest of us? Where is our savior, Kanye West, to wrench the microphone away from Swift once more?

At a nationally televised meeting with the president, of course. Just when the world thought West had decided to stick to tattered thousand-dollar cardigans and funky footwear, he’s treated us to a madcap red cap rodeo with the promise of a presidential campaign in 2024 — letting Trump finish a potential second term, true to form. Trump supporters loved it; critics were quick to criticize. In the end, however, Kanye was just wasting the president’s executive time.

Don’t be fooled — it’s not just the controversial duo spouting their personal views like anyone cares; even more artists have jumped on the ridiculous express-how-you-feel-about-current-events bandwagon. Chance the Rapper recently endorsed a political candidate in his hometown of Chicago, Amara Enyia, for mayor — a move as audacious as it is unprecedented for the artist that has been known to shy away from any sort of community involvement whatsoever. He’s not Chance the Sociopolitical Advocate, after all.

Where has this plague of celebrity endorsement come from? Everyone except the President of the United States of America must very reasonably have a seasoned background in politics before they open their mouths. It only makes sense that we leave the big decisions and political endorsements to the experts. Would you really want a singer telling you who you should support in the next election? A rapper? To the blue collar, salt-of-the-earth families of America, their trust in pale, pudgy politicians in expensive suits is well placed.

What’s that? Donald Trump is a celebrity, too? Impossible — NBC has no plans to bring back his show, the failing Celebrity Apprentice. Our president won the election without the crutches of star power or cheap persuasion tactics, and he governs with the same disdain for spectacle. Ask anyone who agrees with him; they’ll tell you the same thing: His opinion matters.

People with power whose views I don’t agree with using their platform to push personal beliefs is shameless and counterproductive to our democracy. Celebrities getting fearless about their political views must stop. It’s time to put an end to beloved contemporary icons sticking their noses where they don’t belong. You can keep your two cents, Taylor — all we care about is your music. And not even 75 percent as much as we used to.

Taylor, would you please return to your roots and be an impartial, oblivious music maker that never leaves the house? I wish you would. Artists, personalities, Instagram influencers, take note: Americans and political consciousness are never, ever getting back together.

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