Whether we like it or not, discussion of politics has entered nearly every aspect of our lives. The one glaring example of this in recent months is the entertainment sphere, with celebrities using their fame to spread ideas and advocate for change. At the Grammys, for instance, the mood was unusually dominated by politics, with subjects such as Trump, his Muslim ban and the Dakota Access pipeline periodically mentioned.
At the same time, many have voiced discontent with this new trend, arguing that some areas, especially entertainment, should remain free of politics. According to these critics, celebrities who politicize award shows are alienating groups of people and misusing their positions in the spotlight.
However, the actors, musicians and public figures engaging in this type of behavior are acting in society’s best interests. As celebrities, these individuals are given a platform most people are not. This status comes with a responsibility to use that platform to be a positive influence on the public. Many individuals avoid watching news for various reasons and are unaware of the magnitude social issues have. Politics matters and impacts us at every level of our lives, and its importance should not be diminished.
What the president does (or does not do) affects everyone, including celebrities, and every individual has a right to voice his or her opinion. Politicizing entertainment may turn away sensitive viewers, but it exposes viewers to a greater variety of ideas and brings attention to issues that might otherwise be ignored.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “To announce that there should be no criticism of the president … is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.”
His words are especially applicable today, with the most divisive presidency in recent history. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility, and the responsibility of celebrities, to encourage discussion so that we can better address the problems in our world. We should not be condemning individuals for bringing attentions to the issues of our time; we should commend them.