Symposium 2016: Hollywood celebrities have taken it upon themselves to dictate their political views to the general public. Should they be allowed to become self-appointed spokespersons for the whole country?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent- Celebrities become spokespeople because we allow them to.  Celebrity worship in this country has reached alarmingly pathetic proportions. George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey are just exercising their freedom of speech, but because they have been anointed as celebrities, their words are given greater weight and greater supposed wisdom than yours or mine.  This, of course, is hogwash. However, nothing should be done to shut them up, as that would be a constitutional nightmare.  Rather, let’s stop buying, watching and giving web surfing time to the outlets that deify them.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent- Average Americans have come to the realization that Hollywood identity politics are a slap in the face to them and many have reacted to these negative and patronizing dictates accordingly, which was made clear through the results of the 2016 General Election.

Hollywood has had a grip on popular culture and has reinforced its sense of importance on the public, which has elevated the elites in Hollywood into believing that their thoughts and opinions on national affairs are worth their input and direction.

Many Hollywood actors, actresses and high profile producers and directors believe they have the ability to direct  and sway policy making on a national level when, in fact, many sorely lack the necessary knowledge, skills or temperament  to oversee anything other than scripts and ideological story lines.

In spite of making movies that have some redeemable qualities and following some traditional story lines, they continue to misunderstand American history, the founding of the nation, and why America was established as a representative republic with democratic principles, as opposed to a pure democracy that they envision.  If they do understand any national basic values, they are not very happy about them and vehemently present their criticisms in a vocal, media driven manner.

Most Hollywood personalities refuse to acknowledge the reactions and feelings of everyday Americans and continue to live their lives through luxury and extravagance with little to no recognition of what normal people experience on a daily basis as well as how American government is supposed to function.  These concepts easily evade them as their lives have been filled with make believe, materialism, adulation of adoring fans and media attention.

There are a few celebrities in Hollywood, from the old school, who do understand that their remarks and input are not necessary, yet even some of these individuals choose to remain in the shadows. Many continue to tow the party line and pander to the politically correct elite in order to remain part of the Hollywood scene and industry that keeps them and their careers in the limelight. The few that do speak up are ostracized, looked down on and maybe thrown a crumb or two concerning work. They usually end up going to other occupations or behind the scenes work in Hollywood, retiring or attempting to educate their Hollywood peers and others about the reality of American politics.

The reactions to liberal Hollywood have been pretty much consistent with what Americans have felt for some time. They dislike the hypocritical, “do as I say, not as I do” nature of Hollywood personalities,  their disdain for every day Americans, their extravagant lifestyles, their arrogance, their liberal spewing progressive views on issues they have no idea about (much less specifics ways to solve them) along with their media driven push to elevate themselves as spokespersons for others.

Hollywood needs to wake up and recognize the hardships that the policies of their party favorites have brought to the country and, at the same time, drop their identity politics rhetoric infused with political correctness aimed at everyday Americans.  They may live in an unreal world but they need to disembark from their superficial cloud and live in the real, day-to-day grind of ordinary Americans for a while and experience what others have had to endure.

 

Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent- I’ll take my celebrities WITHOUT a side portion of politics. Thanks. If I want to talk and hear politics I’ll watch Fox, or what have you. When I see celebrities, I don’t want to hear about politics, I want to hear about their next movie, or song, or tour dates etc.

On another note: What does Kim Kardashian REALLY know about politics? Can she name ANY senator? Does she know any of the Bill of Rights? Is she REALLY someone who we should be taking political “advise” from? Wake up America!! This has got to stop; the younger generations are listening to celebrities’ opinions rather than reading and searching out facts. This is a scary trend, one that needs to stop!

Owatonna, MN Correspondent- In a free society, citizens are encouraged to express themselves in public as well as in private. In a free modern society with significant wealth, modern mass communication, and a cultivated obsession with celebrity, public figures are the citizens who are listened to the most. As such, their political opinions are seen as more newsworthy than the opinions of average citizens.

By definition, a self-appointed spokesperson doesn’t ask for permission, so the question isn’t one of allowing someone to speak their mind. The problem is the sanctioning of Hollywood celebrities as political experts who believe they can influence political debate in this country. It is allowed because corporate media is all about making money—mainly through advertising—and attracting the attention of listeners, viewers, and readers is the highest priority. Famous people naturally attract more attention than regular Joes and Janes, so they are the ones who get the air time and publicity when they express political opinions. In that regard, we “allow” celebrities to speak for the whole country because we’ve continued to buy into the idea of confusing the term celebrity with the term expert.

However, I’m not sure most celebrities have that much influence in politics. Most people don’t decide whom to vote for based on the opinions of their favorite actors or rock stars. Seeing that a celebrity endorsed a candidate may confirm their decision to vote for that candidate, but it’s hard to believe that large numbers of voters will change their minds because someone like Oprah Winfrey campaigns for a particular politician.

The best way to reduce any influence celebrities may have on politics is to rethink our approach to campaigns, elections, and government in general. When we stop confusing politics with beauty contests and popularity contests and focus instead of electing statesmen and stateswomen who will endeavor to make government more efficient and responsive, then celebrity politicking will disappear as well.

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