I'm currently watching the Emmy awards, and just one hour in, I'm already exhausted by the poorly executed, hackneyed jokes about Donald Trump's wall, and I haven't yet recovered from the shock of seeing the cold opening consisting of Jeb Bush playing himself, but as a limo driver - he told Jimmy Kimmel he was "between jobs" - or from hearing America Ferrera describe the U.S. Presidential election as a "reality competition."
This whole series of events that played out over the first 15 minutes of the 2016 Emmys was troublesome to me for many reasons.
Let's break this down.
Politics is not a joke.
Newsflash: jokes about Melania Trump plagiarizing Michelle Obama's DNC speech quit being funny a couple months ago. The matter of choosing who leads the charge as Commander-in-Chief of these great United States for the next four to eight years is no longer something to be the butt of endless, already-told jokes. With fewer than 100 days until the election, it's time to get our noses to the grindstone and start really looking at the issues and at the implications of choosing candidate A over candidate B, or turn our attention toward third-party candidate C. It's time to hop off the "Hillary has pneumonia" and "Trump wants to build a wall" trains and hop onto fiscal policy, military spending, health care and the like.
These celebrities blurring a line that doesn't need to be blurred.
With the exception of the aforementioned reality competitions, most of these Emmy speakers star in shows with plot lines based upon fiction. We look to them to entertain us, and that's what their wealth (that is, in many cases highly exorbitant) is derived from. When the person who plays a character in a show that takes place in an alternate universe or the person who plays the manager at a fictional big-box store likens this election to a reality competition, and the viewer whose television is much more frequently tuned to HBO than HLN takes stock in what they say, the result is a bloc of uneducated voters who only know about their "favorite" candidate what Tina Fey said about him or her.
For most of these celebrities, who becomes President won't matter, anyway.
Here, I would like to address the members of the population who are considered "celebrities" directly.
For those of you over a certain tax bracket, the level of comfort you are fortunate enough to experience won't change a whole lot based upon who is elected President. You legitimately will be able to live the next years of your life treating the Presidency like it's a joke, because you're privileged enough to do that. To you, it's of very little consequence.
But keep your audience in mind. Keep in mind the young men and women who, come 18 years old, have to register for the draft. Keep in mind that who you elect may keep them out of harm's way, and when they are called to keep those of us back home out of harm's way, the person who gets elected is the source of their support back home. Keep in mind the crippling debt this country faces and the volatility our stock market experiences as a result of world events and issues here at home. Keep in mind the narrowing middle class. Keep in mind those who have to get their hands dirty for a living - and not with stage makeup. When you speak, some of these people listen, because you play roles in television shows that are comforting, humorous, inspiring and, for some viewers, your characters are role models.
You have a captive audience. Use it to effect change. Use it to talk about relations between black Americans and police officers. Use it to talk about the horrors happening in Aleppo. Use it to talk about things that truly matter, because, when you speak, people listen. But please, no matter what you choose to talk about, take the future of the nation that is built on the notion of freedom of speech - the very right that allows you to act in whatever you choose and speak about whatever you choose on primetime television - seriously.