Nov. 3, 2014

Kyle Guthrie
kguthri2@uccs.edu

With elections looming, political debates, ads and explosive mail have invaded and bombarded the homes and lives of any person who is unfortunate enough to live in a swing state such as Colorado.

One aspect of the political season never fails to rear its ugly and unwelcome head: the unavoidable appearance of celebrity endorsements and political drives.

Every other November, actors, musicians, pop culture icons and other public figures love to come out of the woodwork and begin spouting about how you would be an idiot if you didn’t vote for their candidate.

The notion of people as influential as actors and singers talking down to young American voters like they are idiots is not only offensive, but dangerous.

American culture is obsessed with celebrities and stars. Using this influence to push your agenda on impressionable young teens completely undermines the foundations and ideals of a democratically elected government made to represent the people.

So when young Johnny Voter, fresh out of high school, votes for a politician whose policies he is completely clueless about because he was told to do so by a person who stands in front of a camera and says words for a living, he can’t act shocked when this politician passes legislation that he doesn’t agree with.

Many of these celebrities and cultural icons are absolute hypocrites when they talk about political agendas and stances, oftentimes condoning actions that they themselves have made famous.

Actors like Jamie Foxx want to preach to the world about the evils of gun violence and how all America is racist, while one of his latest blockbusters featured him gunning down dozens of people while spouting lines such as “I kill white people and get paid for it, what’s not to like?”

Most irritating of all is the fact that many of these celebrities act like they are pushing a political agenda for the common American, without having any idea what that lifestyle is like. Actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow love to preach about how the candidates or policies they are supporting are good for America, but this is the same woman who said in an interview that she “couldn’t live” without her $2,500 custom bookshelf.

How can a woman who said “I am who I am, I can’t pretend to make $25,000 a year” advocate for people who actually make that?

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but there is a big difference between answering honestly about who you are going to vote for, and hiding behind a façade of commonality to push your agenda because you are actually worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

There are some celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence, who are intelligent enough to understand the importance of voting and refuse to endorse sides because of it. Sadly, many celebrities who choose this route often fade into obscurity.

Young voters still possess the best tool for filtering celebrities’ opinions: don’t listen to them.

Don’t take political advice from a person who has no relative understanding of your life. Do your research, read your ballot and vote for the candidate that you believe has your best interests at heart. Only then can the democratic republic that America was founded on reach its full potential.