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COLUMN: Taylor Swift decides to 'Speak Now' and break political silence



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Taylor Swift performs Dec. 10, 2017, in London. Swift recently broke her political silence after her Instagram post concerning the midterm elections went viral. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Minutes before Taylor Swift takes the stage at any show during her Reputation Stadium Tour, a video package of media negatively portraying her plays on the video screen and echoes through the speakers.  

The anticipation for the pop icon to come out is palpable, so much so that the messages within the video could be lost from the sheer volumes of screams and eagerness to begin singing the lyrics to “…Ready for It?”

However, somewhere in that quick overlap of clips is probably some sort of criticism of Swift’s inability to use her platform and speak out on her political views. This type of criticism led many to believe a few different things: Swift was either a supporter of President Donald Trump, or she was too afraid to say anything due to the consequences of possibly losing fans.

Well, like she did in her latest album, “reputation,” Swift once again silenced those critics.

On Oct. 7, Swift made a post to her Instagram stating her political views and who she will vote for in the midterm elections in Tennessee as well as encouraging people to vote.

Swift has in the past spoken out against the double standard women face in music. Women can’t write about their exes without sounding clingy and bitter, while men do it all the time. Not only that, but she also defended singer Hayley Kiyoko on the double standard regarding homosexual relationships earlier this year.

In her show in Chicago on June 2, Swift gave a speech before performing the song, “Delicate” and said how it’s LGBTQ Pride Month and that she sends her love and respect to everybody who has been brave enough to be honest about how they feel.

“This is a month where I think we need to celebrate how far we’ve come,” Swift told the Soldier Field crowd on June 2. “But, I think we also need to acknowledge how far we still have left to go.”

That was a good start of Swift slowly using her platform to speak politically to her mass following recently. In her post on Instagram, she took it a step further.

“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.”

She further stated that she will not vote for Marsha Blackburn, who has voted against equal pay for women, and said she will vote for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives in Tennessee. 

There was no better time than now for Swift to make this statement. After what’s happened with the Brett Kavanaugh situation, Swift has appealed to her audience, which is mostly female, and given them a voice that drives deeper than the connection with romance.

When Swift said, “the old Taylor can’t come to phone right now” in her single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” she meant it in more ways than just her music.

Now, Swift can empower her audience and not just make a difference in the musical world, but the political world as well.

The headlines will come flurrying in more than ever for Swift — some positive and some negative. In terms of negativity, it won’t matter for Swift. Her whole album, “reputation,” is about not giving a crap about her reputation.

The biggest point of her post wasn’t to tout her own beliefs, but to encourage others to follow theirs.

She ended the Instagram post with, “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 percent 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.”

Call it what you want, but Swift is listening to her 2010 self. With all of the political turmoil in our country, we need to speak up. As she said in her “Speak Now” liner notes:

"There is a time for silence. There is a time waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now."

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