In the age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy for celebrities to express their opinions and political views, and for their followers and fans to keep up-to-date on their lives and goings-on from a personal view; without the stalkerish eyes and vibes of paparazzi.
With the growing political turmoil that’s got us all anxious in the States and beyond, celebrities and influencers have taken to their social media outlets to share their disapproval of current administration and/or policies; much to the chagrin of those that disagree.
We all have political opinions; or at least opinions that could be considered political in nature. And we should. It’s important to care about the big issues that affect us and those around us. And there are things going on and decisions being made in ours and governments all over the world that affect us to some degree all the time.
As citizens, it is our right to be knowledgeable about and vote for candidates and policies according to our beliefs; whatever they may be. And when something affects us to the point of action, it only makes sense to use whatever platform you’ve got available to help others understand your position, and to make those that think similarly know you are with them.
Why, then, do people constantly tell celebrities, entertainers, and influencers that they should stay out of politics? Why are actors essentially to sit down and shut up and just do their job? Why are they not allowed to be politically active? They’re citizens and/or residents and are subject to whatever laws and policies are put into place by politicians, too.
The problems with telling someone to “stay out of politics” and “just do your job” or “I didn’t follow you for your politics” are broad, but ultimately it’s so dismissive of the fact that they are also people. Yes, they’re people who knowingly put themselves in the public eye, but that doesn’t make them any less human. It doesn’t mean you have more of a right to tell them what they should and shouldn’t be doing than you do your neighbor.
And you know what? If you don’t like what they have to say, you have the option to unfollow them or stop supporting them. Their job is to entertain only while they are working; otherwise they’re just trying to live their life. If you are uncomfortable with what they’re saying, maybe try and identify why. Is it because you just fundamentally disagree? That’s understandable; we don’t always agree with everyone all the time. Does it make you check your privilege and that makes you feel guilty? It’s time to check that. Is it because you’re already overwhelmed with the bad news going around and were hoping for an escape from it? That’s understandable, but so are they. And that doesn’t give you a right to try to police what they are saying because it makes you uncomfortable.
And then there are celebrities who have been vocal about not wanting to share their opinons publicly, like Dolly Parton. She views herself as an entertainer for all, and even though she’s said she has them, obviously, she doesn’t want that to overshadow everything else she does. And that’s okay, too. Having a public platform gives you the chance to talk about and promote what you choose.
So next time you see a message that you don’t like coming from a celebrity that you do, either unfollow them quietly, or just keep on scrolling (unless it’s factually inaccurate). Because they have as much right to post their opinions as you do.
P.S. Please make sure, if you can vote, that you do.