Celebrities merge into political lane

In such turbulent times of political unrest, not everyone may seem inclined to use their opinions wisely, but the right to use them at all remains crucial to our democracy. Americans in particular however, should welcome the addition of new voices, because as it stands now, American politics has a problem: not enough people speak up. 

This was the case with the 2016 presidential election in which CNN Politics Video Producer, Gregory Wallace reported about the lowest voting turnout in two decades; where approximately 18.7 million votes would have been needed to match the 2008 turnout at 64 percent. With that  amount of mass political input on a declining trend, experts have begun to question whether the future of the country even matters to people anymore. 

So who can fix this?  Almost a year has passed since the election and artists, including Katy Perry, have made no mystery of their views concerning the state of the nation or of the world, by incorporating them into their work. Her newest album, “Witness,” which she promised would be very political, houses the track “Chained to the Rhythm,” featuring Skip Marley. The lyrics openly discuss her opinions on the invisible chains shackled to all, and  the video uses the a hamster on a wheel as a metaphor for modern society. Although not everyone takes her seriously, she has also appeared on several talk shows explaining her positions along with her efforts to spark change for the better. 

In May, former Navy Seal, Carl Higbie, publicly told Perry to visit a hot, controversial destination on Fox News after her Manchester bombing comments calling for no borders. Accusing her of not respecting the country or what it stands for, Higbie criticized the ignorance of her ideas of love and tolerance. 

Others such as Mark Wahlberg, a celebrity himself, have gone as far as to claim that celebrities should stay out of politics altogether and stay in their own lane. Celebrities have as much of a right to engage in political discourse as anyone else. Expecting others to be experts on familiar topics to you, and shaming them, shrinks the want to expand one’s knowledge. To educate a mass starts with one, and the time should be taken.

Prohibiting people to speak on matters based on what they do for a living is extremely limiting and exactly the type of mentality that will continue to drive people away from the polls. Celebrities, even if not the most informed, are people too; people with voices. If anything, this country should encourage celebrities to talk more about politics. Celebrities have their ability to use their large platforms and reach a range of ages, which are more likely not to vote due to apathetic reasons says Robert Montenegro of Big Think. With the platform and influence they have, the power is in their hands to reach millions of people, sparking the change Perry has spoken of.