It’s the fall of 2016. Trump is calling Hillary Clinton “nasty” and mocking disabled reporters. Celebrities are speaking out, condemning Trump. Taylor Swift says nothing.
To the disappointment of her liberal fans, the only thing Taylor does that entire election is post a simple picture of her going to vote on election day.
But four years later and Taylor will not be silent. In opposition to everything she’s been indoctrinated with growing up in the country music scene, she’s speaking out loudly and often against Trump. And she’s not going to stop until you start listening.
Most recently she took to Twitter to call out Trump for his blatant attempt to sabotage the election via the USPS. And she did not mince words. She wrote,
“Trump’s calculated dismantling of USPS proves one thing clearly: He is WELL AWARE that we do not want him as our president. He’s chosen to blatantly cheat and put millions of Americans’ lives at risk in an effort to hold on to power.”
She then added,
“Donald Trump’s ineffective leadership gravely worsened the crisis that we are in and he is now taking advantage of it to subvert and destroy our right to vote and vote safely. Request a ballot early. Vote early.”
This is just the latest in her recent string of political activism. It was only a year ago, after all, that Taylor first even indicated that she was anti-Trump. And although she started speaking out in favor of LGBTQ rights and against gun violence in 2018, it wasn’t until George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 that she would actually call out Trump by name. On Twitter, she wrote,
“After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November. @realdonaldtrump.”
This is unprecedented for Taylor. Growing up she was inundated with stories of The Dixie Chicks — a cautionary tale told to rising country stars to convince them to stay silent. And it worked. For a while, at least.
But when she saw Marsha Blackburn running for senator, campaigning against everything she believed in, Taylor decided it was time to fight back. She wrote on Instagram,
“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.”
While her conservative fans previously reveled in her silence (her Trump fans even took over her 2017 app because apparently we can’t have nice things), her liberal fans condemned her.
Taylor has long faced severe criticism, even more than her peers (Selena Gomez was also notoriously silent during the 2016 election but didn’t receive nearly the same backlash).
But even when Taylor did start speaking up, it was somehow never enough and too much at the same time. She couldn’t do anything right.
When she dropped her song “You Need to Calm Down” along with a music video featuring every LGBTQ+ celeb under the sun, critics called it performative activism and queer-baiting while many of her LGBTQ fans deemed it “not queer enough.”
But there’s no way that liberal critics can come for Taylor now. Her critiques of Trump have been ruthless and biting. And completely spot-on. She’s called out Trump’s white supremacy and his obvious attempts to destroy our democracy and right to vote. What more could you ask of her at this point?
Of course, for some people, it will never truly be enough. But as Taylor says, haters gonna hate. Because that’s exactly what they are at this point: haters. What was once a possibly valid critique has become moot.
She may never be the perfect ally, but who is?
She’s learning and she’s honest about how much she doesn’t know, which is perhaps even more important. It signals to her fans that it’s ok not to know it all, that it’s ok to admit your faults and your past wrong-doings. It signals that, as long as you’re willing to do the work, then you’re on the right track.
“I’m trying to be as educated as possible on how to respect people, on how to deprogram the misogyny in my own brain.”
And prior to that, she explained how she was still learning about her own white privilege.
“A lot about how my privilege allowed me to not have to learn about white privilege. I didn’t know about it as a kid, and that is privilege itself, you know? And that’s something that I’m still trying to educate myself on every day. How can I see where people are coming from, and understand the pain that comes with the history of our world?”
Taylor Swift has come such a long way in the last two years. She’s grown exponentially and in such a short time. What other celebrity can boast that?
The era of political Swifty is upon us. And she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.