Taylor Swift Gives Marsha Blackburn Swift Kick In The Ass
Pop star Taylor Swift disappointed conservatives Sunday by publicly endorsing Democrats and their #MeToo socialism. The right was already reeling from the loss of Willie Nelson (who they never actually had). This just might be too much to endure. Swift, who lives in Tennessee, announced on Instagram that she's voting in the upcoming midterms for Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and House candidate Jim Cooper.
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 in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.
Wow, now I want to vote for Swift. Just run for something, Taylor, and I'll be there. This is such a moving statement, it'd make Beto O'Rourke jealous. Swift subtly alludes to the civil case she won last year against a creep who groped her in 2013. The jerk tried to sue Swift for defamation because he lost his job when she reported the assault. She then boldly countersued and beat down attempts by the defense to claim she "misidentified" her assailant: "I'm not going to allow you or your client to say I am to blame." Does this remind you of unpleasant current events? I think the timing isn't a coincidence.
Swift also calls out Donald Trump ("events ... in the world in the past two years") without actually saying his name. She makes it clear that like millions of Americans, she's been moved to activism. And Taylor Swift speaking directly about politics to her tens of millions of fans and risking the inevitable right-wing backlash is a form of activism. She's worth an estimated $320 million (only broke-ass folks like us have an exact figure for their bank balance) and was named one of the world's 10 most powerful women in 2015.
Swift smoked then current first lady Michelle Obama and C-level executives from YouTube and Facebook. The president of Brazil was impeached and removed from office in 2016, so Swift edging her out for sixth place is reasonable in retrospect.
I appreciate how Swift doesn't align herself to a political party or claim she's now an "independent," which every former Republican dude feels it necessary to pronounce in a self-indulgent op-ed. She just simply and eloquently states the values she holds. She flatly rejects discrimination against gays, and even in 2018 Tennessee that's like Elvis Presley inviting Rosa Parks on stage to sing "Heartbreak Hotel" with him. She calls out "systemic racism" as "terrifying, sickening and prevalent." She builds her case before she even mentions the name Marsha Blackburn, which so close to Halloween could summon the dancing zombies from the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video.
As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.
This is quite a blow to the folks who thought Swift was some sort of Aryan goddess. Deluded Nazis are especially bumming. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk quickly jumped in to mansplain feminism to Swift, pointing out that actually Blackburn is totally a "strong woman." Of course, Swift never claimed Blackburn wasn't. Not surprisingly, Kirk doesn't get how feminism works. Strong women can work against the interests of less powerful women. (Damn right, your ears should be burning, Susan Collins.) Kirk also went on FOX to lament how Swift was no longer the politically silent woman he didn't actually know but totally loved. Here's the clip. He really said this out loud.
Yes, just last week, Kirk called Kanye West's barely coherent pro-Trump message on "Saturday Night Live" a "profound cultural moment." It's possible conservative views on celebrities "wading into politics" are not intellectually honest.
Swift also said mature, grown-up things about voting and political candidates that I hope her young fans pay attention to.
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.
So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count.
This sentiment is probably what frightens conservatives the most. Republicans benefit when purity politics keep left-leaning voters, especially young people, at home. Now that Swift has spoken up, perhaps more of her fans will take her lead and make their voices heard on November 6.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.