Being Political—The Role of a Lifetime
Depending on which side of the spectrum you sit on, you either loved Meryl Streep’s recent commentary on the current political state of affairs or hated it.
If you loved it, you likely took to Twitter or Facebook to say as much. You might have even written something like, “Meryl Streep is the definition of grace. We need more Americans like her.” And when the haters came at you, you might have responded with something like, “Celebrities are people, too, and they have just as much right to voice their opinions as anyone else.” And your likeminded friends and followers agreed and added to the thread with likeminded statements.
And if you hated it, you likely took to Twitter or Facebook to say as much. You might have even written something like, “Why don’t actors do what actors do best and just play pretend? Stay out of politics!” Or “Who cares what an actor has to say about anything political?” Or “Where do celebrities get off thinking they can preach their liberal hogwash at me? I just want to know who she’s wearing” And your likeminded friends and followers agreed and added to the thread with likeminded statements.
And so it goes every time a celebrity gets involved in any political movement. If we like what we hear, then we applaud them and welcome their ability to speak our shared feelings to a sea of millions. But if we disagree with them, then they should sit down, shut up and go back to doing what they do best, which is being prettier and richer than us and entertaining us without pause.
The issue stirred up by Streep saying what she said at Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards has nothing to do with her occupation. It has to do with what she said. Liberals love it when Streep or Jesse Williams say the things they want to hear. They love it when Katy Perry performs at the DNC. Just the same as conservatives love it when Stacy Dash or Victoria Jackson say the things they want to hear. And they love it whenever Ted Nugent performs in support of guns.
Freedom of speech allows and encourages all of us to speak up for what we believe and feel. It’s obnoxious, I know, but we’re a better people because of it. Rather, we would be if we actually listened to each other, and more importantly, if we spoke with at least some basis of proof and experience. There is nothing about being an actor or musician or any other kind of celebrity that should prevent that person from speaking up.
Sure, what do they know about politics? Well, what the hell does your doctor or mechanic or digital marketing specialist know? Just as much? More? Less? Hell, look at the lack of experience offered by many in Trump’s soon-to-be cabinet, and the willful ignorance of process held by so many currently serving on Capitol Hill. And those people are supposed to be the experts. On the topic of politics, when the presumed professionals don’t know what they’re talking about, perhaps it’s best that no one should say anything ever.
But no. Opinions should be shared.
The thing that is annoying to us about celebrities sharing theirs, is the ease in which they can share them with millions while the rest of us struggle to have 100 people react to our post, and even fewer retweet or share it. We envy celebrities. Especially when they say something we don’t want to hear. But when they’re on our side, we’re all for it.
Consider Rock the Vote. Let’s not forget that Ronald Reagan was a celebrity—hardly an actor anymore by the time he became the governor of California. And there was Arnold Schwarzenegger, too. And the greatest proof we have to show that we love when celebrities run their mouths off about, and get involved with politics, is that we elected a complete political novice—in that he’s never been elected to any office before the presidency—and a super celebrity—television, author (sort of), hyper-marketing expert—in the form of Donald Trump.
Celebrities and politics go together like insurance companies and greed. Yet we only like when the message they’re sharing doesn’t stray from our own, but un-famous, delicate thoughts and feelings. Freedom of speech is a right we don’t want our most popular enemies to enjoy. And that is more and more becoming the American Way.