Welcome to 2018! Kanye West is endorsing Trump, and the famously apolitical Taylor Swift has finally broken her silence on the politics with a lengthy Instagram post. In it, she declares her support for Phil Bredesen, Tennessee’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Swift was heavily criticized for her "deafening" silence during the 2016 election. Many critics were quick to point out Swift’s hypocrisy of her new image as an outspoken feminist, while she opted to stay quiet during a crucial moment when her voice was needed most.
In her Instagram post, she rations, “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Swift goes on to state that she “cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for all Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.” She criticizes Bredesen's opponent, Marsha Blackburn, for opposing equal pay for women, voting against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and supporting businesses that refuse to serve gay people. “These are not MY Tennessee values,” Swift writes, neglecting to mention that Blackburn held a political fundraiser at one of her concerts back in 2015, the Huffington Post reports.
As expected, Swift’s post drew support from Bredesen, who thanked her for her support, as well as prominent left-leaning celebrities. Taylor Swift’s support of a Democratic candidate and acknowledgement “that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG,” and “that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent” is all fine and good. But for many people who have spent the last two years actively speaking out and protesting against dangerous and discriminatory laws, this statement comes across as disingenuous and even opportunistic. If Swift holds as much political influence as many are saying she does, then where the hell was she in 2016?
Taylor Swift does not get a gold star for reminding us that we are in the midst of a terrifying political environment. We’ve been experiencing the Trump administration's attack on human rights for two years. If anything, her statement implies a calculated attempt at maintaining both her conservative and liberal fanbases so she can continue to rake in millions while commodifying whatever societal trends suit her, whether it's feminism or female friendships. The Ringer perfectly sums up this notion as, “There’s no doubt that ‘several events’ in Swift’s life and world in the past two years helped push her to speak out. But maybe—just maybe—she realized it would be good for her brand, too.”
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