News & Features

Why Taylor Swift should speak out

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The past few weeks have been difficult for many. The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh into the supreme court, despite him lying under oath and being accused of sexual assault by Dr Christine Ford, has caused many Americans to question the legitimacy of the current American government, with the President’s approval ratings dropping in every state.

Whilst Kanye West’s vocal support of Donald Trump is a point of concern for most, the Democratic party finally have an icon of their own to rally behind. An unlikely hero that could perhaps turn the tides in a time of political distress. Taylor Swift.

Swift and Kanye stand against each other once again, almost echoing the humbler days of the 2009 MTV VMAs where their sour relationship first began. However, this feud has reignited on a much grander scale, with the stars standing on opposite sides of  an extreme coin.

This is not the first time that musicians have raised their political flags against the 45th President. When Trump was first nominated as POTUS, many artists felt compelled to speak out, be it through social media or physical protest. The 2016 election and Trump’s presidency has also proved to be significant inspiration for many artists. Perhaps the most significant outcome being Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ which criticizes the treatment of black people in Trump’s America.

However, this is a bold move by Swift who has, until now, chosen not to divulge her political opinions. That changed this week when Swift posted a lengthy Instagram post discussing the importance of voting in the mid-term elections in support of LGBT rights as well as the rights of women and minorities. The singer continued this discussion at the AMAs, using the awards show as a platform to encourage more people to register.

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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. 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. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I 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. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

While many have praised Swift for raising political awareness to more than 112 million Instagram followers, criticism has also been flung in her direction, particularly from a certain loud-mouthed President. Trump, in an interview with reporters, claimed that he now liked her music “about 25% less now” after she stepped into the political ring. Furthermore, Governor Mike Huckabee took to twitter, stating that Swift would have no impact, unless 13-year-olds can vote.

Despite the disapproval by some, this has led to huge spike in voter registrations, with Kamari Guthrie, director of communications at vote.org, stating that up to 65,000 registrations were completed within 24 hours of Swift first posting about her political endorsement on Instagram.

While the Republicans reel in horror at the thought of their beloved Kanye’s political advocacy being challenged, this is a significant boon for the Democratic party. Taylor Swift has used her platform as a pop-sensation to become a rallying cry for those that feel disenfranchised by their government. She is proof that raising the importance of politics is paramount and can only benefit a world where the well-being of our democracy is under threat.

By Sonny Neil

Categories: News & Features, Opinion

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