October 17, 2018

The Shallow Politics of Taylor Swift

“The problem with Taylor Swift’s endorsement of Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen heading into Election Day isn’t that she spoke out. Civic engagement is vital, especially among the many young people who adore Swift’s music, and freedom of speech is a bedrock American principle.

The real problem with Swift’s Instagram post was that she missed the bigger picture. It’s a myopia typical of many young people, largely cultivated by insular reasoning prevalent in high schools and on college campuses, who focus on narrow wedge social issues without looking at broader macro conditions or grappling seriously with complex issues.

This is another common problem among young people — expressing anger and fear against a system rather than proactively seeking to change it. It’s not unusual for some young people to miss the difference between expressive and persuasive communication, and while it’s easy to sympathize with the impulse to express oneself, in a democracy failing to grasp this distinction can be a fatal flaw.”

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