EDITORIAL: Should Celebrities Be Speaking Out on Issues?

Performer+Cardi+B+%28left%29+recently+came+under+fire+by+some+on+the+right+for+criticizing+President+Donald+Trump+for+his+role+in+the+recent+government+shutdown.+
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EDITORIAL: Should Celebrities Be Speaking Out on Issues?

Performer Cardi B (left) recently came under fire by some on the right for criticizing President Donald Trump for his role in the recent government shutdown.

Performer Cardi B (left) recently came under fire by some on the right for criticizing President Donald Trump for his role in the recent government shutdown.

Performer Cardi B (left) recently came under fire by some on the right for criticizing President Donald Trump for his role in the recent government shutdown.

Performer Cardi B (left) recently came under fire by some on the right for criticizing President Donald Trump for his role in the recent government shutdown.

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In 2019 the world is far more connected than ever before. Under the Trump administration, America has become increasingly divided on matters of social, political, and moral importance. The left has retreated further left, and the right has retreated further right.

  As news stations on both sides of the issues focus less on objective facts and more on facts that favor the images of politicians they support, more and more people find themselves turning to other forums as a means of keeping up to date on politics. From YouTube opinion vlogs to blogs to Tweets, from actors to rappers to the President himself, it seems as though everyone is posting their opinions to try to sway others views to align with what they hold to be true.

 Celebrities hold tremendous power by virtue of the sheer size of their audiences, so we must ask ourselves: is it acceptable for celebrities to be commenting on politics? Although millions of fans may love a celebrity’s art, should the general audience consider celebrity opinions on politics as credible and valid?

This discussion recently became even more prevalent than ever when a few weeks ago, the longest government shutdown in United States’ history took place, putting almost a million federal employees out of work for over a month. Belcalis Almanzar, more commonly known as female rap artist Cardi B, posted a video commenting on the shutdown and its implications, urging Congress to draft a bill and allow people to return to work.

She was called out for interfering where it wasn’t her place, since she is a performer and not a politician. However, her stance was well informed, her arguments robust and articulate; even her teachers stood up for her, speaking to her intelligence and mastery of the material in her AP Government and US History courses. Millions of young people look up to her, so what she says has an outsized impact on her fans’ political views.

Jenny McCarthy, a former Playboy model and MTV star has been a prominent advocate for “Anti-Vaxxers” since the early 2000’s. She believes that vaccinating her son caused him to contract autism (a condition that forms before birth) and has actively encouraged parents to avoid vaccinating their children. Due to children not being vaccinated, diseases that were once virtually eradicated in the U.S., such as measles and even polio, have had a resurgence. These diseases can be fatal and often cause lifelong harm to the victim, and put people with already-compromised immune systems at great risk.

Despite this, McCarthy’s voice rings louder than eminent medical minds who can refute all of her claims with hard science.  Why/ Because no one has ever heard of these research doctors, so their voices are drowned out by the noise caused by celebrities, even has-been, C-list ones.

To many, it is easy to discredit celebrities and say that they should “stay in their lane” and only talk/tweet/post about the things they know, such as music, fashion and such. This mentality is backed by celebrities like McCarthy abusing their platform to spread incorrect and potentially harmful information. However, when celebrities, such as Cardi B, accurately educate themselves on the facts regarding the issues and advocate for positive change, they can do far more good than harm.

 Essentially when it comes to public figures advocating their political beliefs, it is crucial to for the reader to take the information for what it is and fully educate themselves on the topic at hand. The public needs to take into account how well those sharing their viewpoints on the national change have educated themselves on the topic on which they are pontificating, not just what’s being said.  With so much “information” coming at us in indigestible quantities and at alarming speed, we need to learn to investigate the source before we listen to the story.

Still, it is irresponsible to say that celebrities should not be speaking out on issues. Celebrities have the same First Amendment rights as every other American citizen, be they informed or ignorant. Certainly, if celebrities are going to take advantage of the national spotlight they have at their disposal, they at least owe it to the American public to make sure they are a part of the former group and not the latter.

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