The public regularly witness celebrities speaking out for a cause that they believe in, whether through writing a post on social media or making speeches at public events. They speak up and advocate for things that are important to them, such as supporting a charity, raising awareness for human rights or sharing their thoughts on current political events.
But not all celebrities feel the need to express their political opinion. Recently, Taylor Swift has been criticized for her lack of a political opinion — or rather, a lack of sharing it publicly. Swift hasn’t spoken out to endorse a candidate, taken a stance on current events or gotten involved in politics in any way, and people are not happy.
The criticism started around the time of the 2016 election when she, unlike other celebrities, did not publicly declare her vote for Hillary Clinton. Her only contribution to the world of politics at this time was a photo on Instagram of herself at the voting booth captioned, “Today is the day. Go out and VOTE.”
Her unwillingness to publicly support a candidate or just speak out about politics initiated a wave of judgement. Media like The New York Daily News and other critics suggested that her silence meant she voted for Donald Trump. In an interview with Vogue, actress Lola Kirke said she thought there were a lot of celebrities who could “offer more help to grassroots movements with their power — and don’t,” calling out Swift in particular.
But why is she being criticized? Why is it important for us to know whether or not Swift voted for Trump or Clinton? Knowing this won’t actively benefit anyone, yet people still scroll through Twitter in hopes of seeing Swift take a stance for or against a political figure.
And this curiosity doesn’t stop at famous figures. In general, members of a society often want to know what its other members are thinking, and particularly what they think about politics, so much that no one can go without asking for an acquaintance’s opinion on Trump’s policies. And if that opinion happens to differ from their own, well, now that acquaintance will be in for quite the debate.
Why should the political opinion of those who one barely knows — or that one doesn’t know at all and probably never will — matter to us so much?
Well, to put it simply, it shouldn’t.
Just because Swift chooses not to become vocal about her political stances doesn’t make her a bad person. I support Swift in her decision to keep her political thoughts to herself. Encouraging people to vote is one thing, but forcing voter transparency is another. Maybe she did vote for Trump, but either way, she will not say. Perhaps the public should be glad she is one of the few celebrities out there who is choosing to keep quiet and not sway her fans’ opinions one way or another.
The general public needs to stop caring about other’s political opinions because the simple act of knowing doesn’t change anything. The importance of an opinion does not lie in knowing who you or your friend, or the singer you love, voted for. Rather, opinions can and should be shared when it comes to trying to make a change based on something you believe in.
Don’t worry about what other people think, especially their political agendas. Instead, talk with others, reach out to representatives and help shape the way your community operates, because you can use your own thoughts and opinions to change the world, if you so choose.