The Rise of the Celebritician by Matthew Ponder

Yo Taylor- I’m really happy for you- I’ll let you finish- but your recent political rally cry is one of the best of all time. One of the best of all time!

Celebrities and public figures outside the realm of politics have zero obligation to express their partisan views and Taylor Swift is certainly no exception. Earlier this week via social media- Taylor endorsed Tennessee Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen for U.S. Senate and Rep. Jim Cooper for the House in this year’s midterm election. Swift, who has admittedly been disinclined to share her views throughout her career credits objectionable voting records, gender inequality, LGBTQ rights and racial injustice as the catalyst to her new voice. Taylor also noted that “several events” she now feels differently about contributed to her post.

Time Magazine’s recognition of Swift as a “Silence Breaker” for outing David Mueller, the radio DJ found guilty of groping her in 2013 positioned her as a voice for this generation. Unsurprisingly- there has already been a wave of backlash towards Swift- something akin to Nike’s decision to support former NFL quarterback and activist- Colin Rand Kaepernick.

No artist or living being for that matter is expected to remain static. Many celebrities, in fear of tarnishing their brands embrace the risk-averse approach and remain as apolitical as possible. Be that as it may- the vulnerability and high stakes of current politics has led to celebrities willing to put political correctness aside en masse for views, likes and air-time. These opportunistic figures e.g. Kanye West, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, Teresa Giudice, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Mike Tyson, Dana White, Stacey Dash, Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and Roseanne Barr (to name a few) are the personification of inimical influence in the 21st century.

Celebrities using their platform to call for change is to be expected. The problem arises when adoring fans forget these people are not in positions of appointed power, but rather-- just one voice among countless others. Our current administration’s success at exploiting our infrastructure along with the the anxieties and xenophobia of our nation should be the ultimate red flag. More than ever, we should be encouraged to remain informed, respectful and undeterred by political affiliation.

Everybody Meet Mr. #METOO by Matthew Ponder

Western Society recoiled at the blitzkrieg of sexual misconduct that now hovers above some of the world’s most prominent and powerful men. Accusations of discreditable behaviors have now infiltrated nearly every major industry from entertainment to politics. It is only natural that we, the people, as a collective body would wish to find some immediate resolve. Only, this star-spangled bandage cannot simply be ripped off. Not quite yet. This ever-evolving scenario, not without nuance has seemingly outpaced any existing and credible forums for discussion or support. This has been on view these last few weeks with the hearing and imminent probe of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Michael Kavanaugh.

As critical as this time may be, we should not assert a belief that the accused are guilty without proper evidence. It is doubly critical that we not unresistingly perpetuate the interests of any predators operating sans-scrutiny. These camouflaged predators have entered our homes, entertained us and pushed countless products on us over the years. Comparatively, those days appear to have dwindled as we have seen with the recent sentencing of America’s dad, William Henry Cosby. Cosby’s conviction is an unquestionable victory for his victims however, a tiny step forward in the race for America’s dignity in this uncertain age of Trump.

Mojado Caliente Verano Americano by Matthew Ponder

This summer we found ourselves fixated on hackneyed headlines involving police brutality. Each month offered a fresh account of the events that lead to these tragic shootings and slayings. 2018 isn’t finished and already, over 500 people have been fatally shot by police in America. A surprisingly drastic decline in contrast to last year’s 987, according to a study conducted by the Washington Post. Earlier this year we diverted our gaze from one injustice to the next. America is undoubtedly a country still mired in racism. Such racism was on full display through a discriminatory travel ban and broken immigration policy.

Every legitimate government is entitled to protecting its borders and enforcing a thorough process towards nationalization. Regrettably, the White House did the very opposite this year. President Trump, along with the aid of ICE, detained and prosecuted thousands of illegal immigrants. This lead to the separation of over two thousand children from their legal guardians. There was never an official strategy to reunite these families in a timely fashion as a quarter of those children remain detained at the cost of the American tax-payer. This is a dangerous political game that has surely tarnished our global image. All efforts to hold our government accountable are more important than ever and it’s imperative we continue to pressure our elected officials. They are waiting to hear from us.

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