Taylor Swift performs at the Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2017 at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2017 in New York. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift Breaks Political Silence But Is It Too Little Too Late?

She's not out of the woods yet.

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Listen, as a white girl from the Midwest, I used to be a Swiftie for an embarrassingly long stretch of time. We’ve all got shameful past favorites, so I’ll take the mockery because I deserve it. I still listen to her music when I’m in need of a good cry and to feel sorry for myself. But last night, when she broke her well-documented political silence to speak in favor of Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper and to decry Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, I found myself taken aback by her latest move for the first time in a long time, as I thought she’d long since lost the ability to surprise me.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Swift spoke about her political beliefs and values and why she wouldn’t be supporting Blackburn, writing:

I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. 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. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. 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. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives.

Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. 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. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

It’s a far cry from the conservative, girl-next-door sweetheart that the alt-right likes to prop her up as being. Swift has always been very, very quiet on the political front save from last year’s sexual harassment case. She used her privilege there for good, but she hasn’t always done so. And of course, her playing the victim and the way it ties into white fragility and womanhood is also something that needs to be unpacked and should be called out, which women of color have been doing for years.

Last year, Swift’s team sued PopFront, a left-leaning website, for an article that spoke about Swift appealing to neo-nazis and the alt-right. Many argued that it was time for her to step up and publicly denounce those members of her fanbase, but she remained silent. Many took that as her just not caring enough to respond, or worse as a tacit endorsement. It seems as though Swift has once more taken control of the conversation surrounding her image.

Naturally, Twitter exploded, with both the right and the left taking to the social media site to express their thoughts.

So is this all a massive attempt at taking back the public opinion narrative? Did Kanye West’s pro-Trump speech at SNL motivate her to step forward? The world may, honestly, never know. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around whether or not she’s doing enough, if it’s too late, or what her next album will look like. One thing is a constant in this timeline: Swift will always find the right way to take the spotlight and keep the conversation going. These think pieces will never go out of style.

(via Instagram; Image: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Author
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.