Columnists, Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: Celebrities in politics

2017 proved to be the year of Hollywood celebrities making a real impact in politics. This could be because our current president was something of a celebrity before taking office around a year ago today. It could also be due to the polarizing nature in which these celebrities conveyed their beliefs and ideas.

However, I think that if an average American citizen is idolizing the views of a celebrity in Hollywood, they are misguided. Why would I want to align my views with someone who makes millions of dollars when the median household income in America is $59,039? Most celebrities live luxurious and extravagant lives and don’t know what it means to live on a middle-class salary. They don’t know what it means to be a student who will graduate with massive amounts of debt, so why in the world should we care what they have to say?

One example of a celebrity who abuses her fame is actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who presents herself as an extreme Democrat. She recently blamed the missile scare in Hawaii on President Trump. Not only did this not make any sense, it also gave Democrats a bad name. If everything that goes wrong in this country is the responsibility of the president, nothing can truly be his fault. It has become very easy for this administration to redirect blame onto Democrats because of whiny liberals who can’t go two days without accusing Trump for what they perceive as the end of the world.

Curtis recently tweeted a few things were to blame for the Hawaii kerfuffle, including Trump’s, “ARROGANCE. HUBRIS. NARCISSISM. RAGE. EGO. IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY. Shame on your hate filled self.” I can see that Lee may have a point about the president’s immaturity and excessive pride. She was undoubtedly trying to say that this threat would not be legitimate if we did not have our current president, but that would be false. In fact, these same kinds of threats happened multiple times in the Obama administration during 2013 and 2014. Therefore, blaming Trump here is just irresponsible.

On the other side of the political spectrum, James Woods uses his Twitter fame to spew ridiculously vile and hate-filled views. Whenever someone tries to show me a James Woods tweet, I refuse to read it. He is giving Republicans a terrible name, and his followers provide people like Jamie Lee Curtis a platform to engage in politics. Woods routinely uses his account to bash on immigrants, Democrats and the Clinton family (surprise, surprise). Woods is by no means an uneducated man — he was even enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before dropping out to pursue acting, which makes this whole act all the more surprising.

Woods is a classic right-wing idiot, recently tweeting, “Trump calls shitholes ‘shitholes’ liberals lose their minds, stock market rockets up 200 points. #LifeIsGood.” None of that correlates at all. Woods, along with the right-wing media, missed the mark when it came to figuring out why people were mad the president used the term “shithole.” I think that people were more upset that the president was questioning why people from those countries were allowed to come to the United States, not the remark about the country itself. Although, I’m sure many people with ties to the countries he was referring to were not very happy.

The bottom line — people need to stop looking to celebrities for the answers to current problems in American politics. As much as I love Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I hope they steer clear of our next election. It has become clear that electing people based off of popularity does not always work in favor of the average American. I’m sure there are more than a few qualified politicians who have spent their lives in public service, trying to make everyone’s experience in this country better than it would have been before. I would rather see a race between two experienced politicians rather than one between Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey. It would be a nightmare only possible in America.

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