Some bizarre and contradictory scenes played out in the media last week.
We have Taylor Swift posting a political message to Instagram - something she rarely does:
And then we have Kanye West in the Oval Office - transcript here:
What first struck me was the blatant double standards at work in the highly-charged world today
When Taylor Swift posted her thoughts on Instagram, an angry hornet swarm of indignation buzzed into being.
“Why should the world care what a singer thinks?”
“What does she know about politics?”
“What gives her the right to voice an opinion?”
The implication is - you have no right to post this, shut up!
Let’s step past the obvious absurdity of these comments in the first place. Instagram is a social media site, along with many others. Millions of people post their thoughts to these sites every day. Who cares what you ate for breakfast? Nobody? Fair enough, but nobody castigates you for posting it. If you don’t care, shrug shoulders and move on.
The subtext seems to be, becoming a successful musician somehow cancels your right to a voice like the rest of the population.
The double standard comes into play with the sub-subtext - you’re not allowed to post something I disagree with. That same furious horde was strangely silent when Kanye West monologued in praise of Donald Trump.
Who’s he? A rapper.
Political qualifications? Zilch.
Equivalent condemnation on publicly voicing an opinion just because he’s an entertainment celebrity?
Then we come to the content of their respective messages
Kanye West expressed outright and unequivocal support for Donald Trump. The message was exclusively partisan. That is his right.
In comparison, Taylor Swift did express her values and who she would be supporting in her state in the mid-terms, and she articulated her reasons clearly and succinctly. That is her right.
But beyond that, she didn’t exhort her followers to support Democrat candidates or to share her political beliefs. This was simply the lead-in to the real thrust of her post, which was an entirely non-partisan exhortation to educate yourself and vote accordingly. And, importantly, to make sure you actually do register and vote.
Why that message should attract such vitriolic condemnation escapes me.
To put it bluntly, if you have a problem with Taylor Swift’s post, then you appear to have a problem with the very foundation of democratic elections