With election day (November 6!) approaching, social media is filled with posts that encourage voter registration and participation at the polls, especially among the young adults. Following this notion, many celebrities are also promoting the right to vote. An example of this is Taylor Swift who endorsed Phil Bredesen, a Democrat from Tennessee, by a post on social media. Previously, Swift remained quiet about her political views on social media. Thus, this recent message of support for Bredesen surprised her followers. Swift’s message is added to a long list of celebrities who have been outspoken about voting in the upcoming election.
Some followers and others support Swift’s political act because it supports one’s freedom of speech. Also, encouraging the youth, in particular, to vote on November 6 has been an initiative in many areas of the U.S. The promotion of political involvement can be seen as trendy, with its celebrity endorsements and hashtags on Twitter, but it remains an important feature of being a participatory U.S. citizen.
However, some, like Carrie Sheffield, do not think that this is enough. This CNN writer believes that Swift is viewing politics too simply; she is not “looking at broader macro conditions or grappling seriously with complex issues.” Sheffield goes on to say that the high school and college-aged generations (i.e. teenagers, emerging adults/young adults) often “express anger and fear against a system rather than proactively seeking to change it.” She believes that while discussing social issues and one’s political beliefs are important, it is simply not enough to emotionally respond; rather, “persuasion backed by intellectual engagement” is more important.
Critics will argue that one message from Taylor Swift will not change the political climate and Republican affiliation of Tennessee. Especially regarding LGBT issues and rights, Sheffield thinks that Swift’s declaration will actually push anti-LGBT voters away from Bredesen and LGBT topics as a whole due to the strict political separation. Also, looking at Swift’s point about equal pay and employment for women, Sheffield believes that since Republican candidates will actually remove poorly made and potentially harmful policy and lower taxes, their policies may be more beneficial for women. Sheffield also argues that Swift did not reference many other important topics to discern in voting such as foreign relations and policies that hurt women and minorities in other countries, two groups she claims to care deeply about.
Sheffield (the author of this article) appreciates Swift’s political statement but feels as if it is not enough. What do you think? Are celebrity political endorsements beneficial? Is it okay that they only highlight relevant information for them, or should they discuss a range of topics? Let me know!
Link (for picture): http://www.hdwallpapers.in/download/taylor_swift_2015-2880x1800.jpg