In today's society celebrities are as equally as famous for their activism as they are for their art. On both sides of the spectrum, stars will make their opinion known about current topics. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley are just two famous faces that now have mugshots thanks to their protests.
One celebrity that famously has kept her thoughts quiet is Taylor Swift.
The country star turned pop icon is known for spilling her heart out in emotional ballads like "Gorgeous" and "All Too Well." She hasn't held back feelings of heartbreak and joy since she began her careers as a young teen. Now an industry titan, Swift has kept her political thoughts quiet, even when prompted by fans and the media.
The closest she came to expressing her political beliefs was with the following line in her song "Welcome To New York": "And you can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls."
This all changed on Sunday, October 7th, when she made a lengthy Instagram post detailing her thoughts on the LGBTQ community, women's rights and racism in America.
"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 the past two years, I feel very different about that now," Swift said in the post.
She put support behind Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and House candidate Jim Cooper, and explained how despite advocating for women in office, Swift disagreed with the voting record of female candidate Marsha Blackburn.
Swift explained, "I have and always will cast my vote based on which candidates will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country."
Swift has received a lot of love for her post but has also been inundated by a backlash. Mainly this has come from those who support Blackburn and her beliefs, and even the President has made his thoughts known, saying, "Let's say that I like Taylor's music about 25 percent less now, OK?"
I have been a Taylor Swift fan for well over a decade. I first saw her as an opening act in 2006, when I was just eight years old. Since then I've stuck with her, and used her songs on love and growing up to help me as I traveled through my tumultuous teenage years. She was the big sister I never had and guided me through every relationship and hard time. We've both grown a lot since that first concert (her much more than me), but I have always felt connected to her, and rush to listen to each new album.
As I've matured, I found my voice and began using it to advocate for causes important to me. It never sat right with me that Taylor never did the same. When historic and horrific events would happen, she would remain silent. It was not only frustrating but disheartening. The woman who I always turned to seemed uninterested in issues so important to myself.
When I read her Instagram post I was shocked. Not only did she comment on the looming midterm elections, but she expressed her beliefs, explained her actions and sent out a call to action to her 112 million followers. Taylor talked about many of the issues I had silently been begging her to address for years.
Despite the criticism she now faces, I absolutely believe she did the right thing; not because of the causes she supported, which I appreciate, but because of the principle of the statement.
We live in a time where politics seem to consume our lives. From music to sports, everyone is making a statement. While many have an issue with this, I think this is critical to our democratic process.
If we don't stand up for what we believe in, who will?
The responsibility to fight for what we believe in is on us, the American citizens. If we don't push for freedom and equality, then they won't occur. So many tragedies go unnoticed because no one is willing to speak out against them. When figureheads like Taylor Swift speak out, they have the potential to inspire millions of voters to create change that can and will affect their communities and country.
The most important message Swift sent was the critical act of voting. Voting isn't always easy; it can be hard to choose between two candidates that have less than stellar reputations. Many would rather not vote at all so they won't have to support either side.
As Swift said, "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."
True change in our country is only done in the polls and has Taylor inspired a change of her own. According the Vote.org and ABC7, in the 24 hours after her Instagram post, nationwide, there were over 51,000 new registrations. In Tennessee alone, there were 2,144 registrations in the following 36 hours.
This shows our words have consequences. In this case, Taylor Swift's words have caused thousands of people to register to vote.
As a fan, I am thrilled to see her confidently expressing her opinion, but as a citizen, I am proud of her inspiring so many voters to go to the polls.
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