To be honest, I haven’t really kept up with the whole Golden Globe, Meryl Streep speech controversy. Not because I thought it was unimportant, but because I just really didn’t care. It was just another instance of liberal hypocrisy. Add it to the list and move on.
However, I saw a headline a day or two later that stopped me in my tracks. It made me realize once again just how divided we are as a country. The headline read “Handful of Hollywood stars will be in DC for inauguration weekend”.
The article listed the small number of small-time Hollywood personalities that would be around during Trump’s inauguration, making sure to note that while they’ll be in town, few will actually be performing at the inauguration. The article made sure to point out with a condescending smirk that headlines are noting the “lack of starpower” at Trump’s swearing-in.
The article made it clear that it didn’t matter that Trump won the election. It didn’t matter that America had spoken, our governmental system had worked once again. None of that mattered. What mattered, was whether or not Charlotte Church would be gracing the inauguration with her presence. What mattered was what Hollywood thought of Trump.
However, if that was true – what matters is Hollywood’s opinion – then Trump would most definitely not have won the election.
The White Screen of Power
You saw it during the primary election. You saw it during the early stages of the general election. You saw it right before election day itself. You even saw it before the electoral college finalized the election results. The “White Screen of Power”.
You know what I’m talking about. A dozen or so celebrities get together and read a cheesy speech begging you to “do what’s right” and agree with them while standing in front of a white backdrop. They take turns talking and repeating what each other say in very meaningful and impactful tones.
From Martin Sheen, to Robert Downey Jr., to some guy who look vaguely familiar (from that one show…?), Hollywood stars have been working overtime to ensure Trump didn’t achieve the presidency. And now that he has, they are intent on making a statement by withholding their esteemed presence at his inauguration.
What is mind boggling is that they think people still care. Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump tirade was just another example of this. Celebrities have been Tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking, and just plain soapboxing their opinions regarding Trump this entire time. It has had an effect, just not the one they were hoping for.
Results of Irresponsibility
Something I have learned from one celebrity is that “with great power comes great responsibility”. When a celebrity is in a position where their opinion holds sway in the minds of their fans, they must ensure that they wield that power responsibly.
The irresponsible actions of Hollywood stars during this election cycle have resulted in two things. First, many people have completely tuned them out and discounted anything they might say. And two, those who aren’t in the first group have taken every word to heart and are now living in paralyzed fear of the Fascist, Nazi Tyrant, a.k.a. Donald Trump.
The irresponsible actions of Hollywood stars during this election cycle have resulted in more division. Now, to be clear, I am not implying these stars shouldn’t be able to express their opinion. However, opinions, if not based in truth, can have disastrous consequences.
Hollywood celebrities spent their time comparing the election to the Hunger Games, calling Trump a tyrant, a Nazi, a giant asteroid that will destroy the earth, a rambling, incoherent creature, a white supremacist, a hatemonger, calling all Trump voters “screaming, kicking babies”…and the list goes on.
The Ebb and Flow of Power
Hollywood, and all that implies, has long been the home of the elites, those with great wealth and a large amount of perceived influence and power. We must ask ourselves, why is it that stars have power in the first place?
Stars see themselves as powerful because they are popular. Stars are popular because individuals found entertainment value in the work the stars performed. Once individuals cease finding entertainment value in the work stars perform, the stars cease to be popular and therefore begin to lose their power and influence.
If this election, and the post-election aftermath has shown anything, it is that Hollywood stars are not going to learn these lessons anytime soon. We cannot control what they say or think, nor should we attempt it. What we can control is our response to it. It is up to us to always repair to the truth.
Hollywood only has the power that we, the individuals, allow it to have.