Performers turned pundits in 2017
author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
As more stars tackle politics, is there a line between actor and advocate?
Well it’s come to this: with Inauguration Day behind us, and Trump now having been sworn in as the president of the United States of America, there is a question remaining as the dust settles: when did celebrities become so potent in politics? Perhaps a rather easy question when one looks at the path that has led us to today.
One could argue that it was the big man himself, Ronald Reagan, who started the initial shockwave that would ricochet to the eventual present day and proceed to tear apart the very fabric of the American system the people once believed in. Maybe it wasn’t. Who knows? It’s hard not to see the similarities between Republican candidates Reagan and Trump, though, a Hollywood actor coming to help save the American ideal and preserve the notion of being all that you can be. In Reagan’s case, he wasn’t a disgusting pig and wasn’t a genuinely terrible human being. I guess it’s harder to find similarities than I thought.
With that in mind when moving on, during the 2017 Golden Globes, something occurred that set the Twittersphere on fire. Meryl Streep would sound her voice in distaste towards then president-elect Trump, saying, “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we lose,” and that “we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.” Powerful words indeed, all which more than ring true in today’s times. In my own personal stance, I really do believe there is a place for actors or actresses in politics. Being a figurehead that can grab people’s attention is so important when trying to deliver a personal or pressing message, especially a message that relates to certain candidates and their gross misuse of power.
Meryl Streep wasn’t the first to speak out, however, and considering how things have been going, she certainly won’t be the last. Individuals such as Scarlett Johansson, Madonna and, hilariously, Alec Baldwin have all voiced in one way or another their dislike of Trump’s tyrannous traits. It’s such a hot topic issue that it’s been brought to countless media outlets all over the U.S., either with a straight face or through comedic timing. It’s a passionate subject that clearly has the stars rattled.
Frankly, celebrities and politics have become so wrapped up in each other, it should come as no surprise that things have reached this point. I’m actually shocked that we haven’t seen more involvement through the years, but I suppose years ago they weren’t terrified the very country that they lived in was going to implode. All in all, the mainstream Oscar-goers that you see on the big screen just want to let people know that they’re just as down-to-earth as you or me, and that they’re just as scared as you and me for the future. Can you really blame them for that? If you’ll excuse me, I need to go and finish my wall.