If Celebrity Activism Mattered Hillary Clinton Would Be President

Donald Trump gestures after arriving for jury duty at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Celebrities love to signal to us what good progressives they are.

Whether it’s Broadway stage actors lecturing the Vice President or musicians ranting about our supposedly fascist President-elect , these antics get a lot of attention. Because America loves celebrities, and so the media serves that appetite by dwelling on everything a celebrity utters be it profound or vapid.

But should we care so much? People get mad when a celebrity rants about the president, or inserts themselves into some hot-button political topic, because they think it matters. They think the celebrities are going to move the needle.

The truth, I think, is that’s not very often the case. If it were Hillary Clinton, and not Donald Trump, would be President of the United States right now.

Take solace in the fact that, despite our nation’s obsession with celebrity, generally the true impact of any given celebrity’s pronouncements on political outcomes indexes directly to the thoughtfulness of those comments.

Sometimes on a specific issue celebrity involvement can make a difference. The #NoDAPL protests here in North Dakota are an example of that. A big reason why the protesters have been able to raise millions for their cause is because they have celebrities with massive followings touting them. That the celebrities also bring a media spotlight with them helps too.

But Green Day tying President-elect Donald Trump to the Ku Klux Klan?

Honestly, who cares? They’re not convincing anyone.

The people who hate Trump will love it, and the people who love Trump will hate it and the people whose political outlook hinges on what a stung by aging rockers are so shallow and intellectually malleable that trying to sell them on a political position is a waste of everyone’s time.

So stop caring about it.

I thought Trump’s reaction to the Hamilton controversy was unfortunate. Why punch down like that? Why elevate the stunt? Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s reaction was better, amounting to a sort of verbal shrug.

Just about every artist I love – from authors to musicians to painters – is someone with whom I disagree politically. But so what? It’s a free country. They’re entitled to their point of view. Take solace in the fact that, despite our nation’s obsession with celebrity, generally the true impact of any given celebrity’s pronouncements on political outcomes indexes directly to the thoughtfulness of those comments.

That’s as it should be.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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