Don’t Listen to Celebrity Opinions About Politics

By SRUSHTI KSHIRSAGAR, Business Manager

Taylor Swift and Kanye. What do these celebrities and many more have in common? They use their platforms to comment on and influence their audience on politics. 

As of late, this has been encouraged and even expected from celebrities and public figures. Taylor Swift was criticized for not being vocal about her opinions in her earlier years and was reprimanded even more for not publicly endorsing a candidate during the 2016 election. On the other hand, Kanye West was heavily criticized for his support of Donald Trump. Pop culture and politics have become so intertwined that our current sitting president is a symptom of superficial credentials. With celebrity culture and social media becoming an integral part of our information consumption, here’s why your “faves’” opinions on politics shouldn’t matter, nor should they be encouraged. 

Celebrities don’t know anything. 

That sounds harsh. What I mean is that most celebrities are not educated on the issues in politics to be credible commentators. Most actors, musicians, directors, models and public figures are popular because their job is to entertain the masses and make money. Most didn’t go to university, and if they did, they usually majored in one of the fine arts. 

The arts are incredibly important to society, but there is a limit to how much art should influence you. Taylor Swift, for example, is one of my favorite musicians, but I highly doubt she has gone through the years of education that would make her qualified to speak on topics such as healthcare, the trade deficit, China or global warming. I am willing to believe she’s very intelligent and capable of understanding these concepts, but she simply doesn’t have the time to learn enough about these topics to definitively give a public statement on the issues. 

Though there are instances where I can sympathize and even agree with her vocal opinions. In her 2020 “Miss Americana” documentary, Swift shows her political reasoning and what drove her to become more vocal. Swift, who has experienced misogyny and sexual assault, felt driven to speak out about her experiences and how they influence her political beliefs about women and minority groups. I give this a pass because humanitarian policies are, generally speaking, more tangibly experienced by citizens. Swift hasn’t blindly endorsed a candidate, but rather explains her reasoning and her experiences. 

Celebrities don’t care about you.

How do we choose the candidate to vote for in any office? We go through their credentials and their proposed policies, and decide whether we can gain from their policies. Celebrities cannot relate to us on a fundamental level. Of course, they have empathy and want a better community and governing body. However, you have to accept that Taylor Swift cannot relate to a farmer in middle America, a culinary union worker in Las Vegas or anyone who isn’t a rich white woman. Yes, it’s reasonable Taylor Swift would vote for a progressive for their humanitarian policies, but how similar is she economically to anyone who isn’t an award-winning artist? 

Celebrities focus on policies that are generally supported by their fans. It’s easy for a celebrity to show their support for reform on issues like environmentalism and women’s rights when they’re conveniently understandable and unanimously accepted among their supporters. Though they may have their best intentions at heart, I would say it’s irresponsible to blindly follow their call to action against any politician. 

One might ask: Why now, at this time? Being politically vocal is a trend. Whether it’s good publicity or bad publicity for Kanye West, taking a stand in politics drives views and popularity. Even if a celebrity really values their political opinions and wants to share it with the world, it’s good to keep in mind that at the end of the day celebrities only care about you as much as you care about the cash in your pocket. 

Celebrities don’t understand or care about you.”

Celebrities are people, and I’m sure they have values, but there’s a difference in advocating for a certain cause like how Leonardo DiCaprio has with global warming, versus Kanye West wearing a MAGA hat. Even if being politically vocal doesn’t translate directly into money, it still promotes a problematic division in the community. 

America is growing steadily polarized. We live in a society where the support of a politician or to have a certain political view is enough to judge and reprimand someone. Adding the voice of celebrities legitimizes a growing divide and culture of intolerance. It legitimizes a culture where liking Kanye West’s music gets you labeled a Trump supporter, or supporting Taylor Swift gets you called a whiny snowflake. Neither of these are necessary, nor should they be encouraged.

So how should you vote? I believe as Americans we have only one basic responsibility: to be informed about the state of your community. Think about what you value in yourself and your community. Understand how your community affects you, and how you affect your community. Have a healthy amount of skepticism, but also trust our system and the media. From that, I would encourage you to research your local and national representatives and future candidates and to vote for who you believe is going to best serve your interests. Because at the end of the day, the only person who you are accountable for is yourself.