Cancelled travel plans?
One of the most dramatic expressions of disapprobation at the possibility of Donald Trump as president of the United States was the assortment of things said, on the record, by celebrities.
This past U.S. election season featured many celebrities leveraging their fame to weigh in on the gauntlet of crucial political, social and even ethical quandaries that emerged as discussion over the contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Celebrities try to take it upon themselves to be barometers of public opinion. Often, those celebrities push that reflection of public thought to its logical extreme. An example of that logical extreme to which the discussion was pushed was the slew of reactive proclamations a number of American celebrities made, that they’d pack their bags and leave the States if Trump were to win the election.
Over a dozen high-profile comedians, actors, models and musicians swore to expatriate if the man they didn’t see fit to run the country won. Actor Brian Cranston promised to move to Canada, only to do an about-face and wish the president-elect success, apparently forgetting about his vow to leave the country and the condemnation by which it was accompanied. Samuel L. Jackson claimed to be going to South Africa. I guess he changed his mind. Lena Dunham purposively insisted “she really (would)” move to Canada, quipping casually about her desire to put some of that fortune she made from her television show towards a “lovely place in Vancouver,” only to later deliver a diatribe on her website with some vague premise of a fight against darkness and injustice, telling us in so many words that she was petulant that people were ready to call her on her bluff. When Amy Schumer was caught between eating her words or actually moving to Spain, like she promised, oops, we forgot that she’s a comedian after all, and it was all an elaborate joke the whole time. Silly us!
I’m not criticizing the political stances of any of these people. I could care less about their political leanings. I’m criticizing the fact that the majority of them said what they did for attention, and really, very little else.
This past election in the U.S. was one of the most contentious and controversial in recent history, with a great many crucial matters at stake in terms of race, the economy, trade agreements, geopolitics and, basically, anything else that fits under the umbrella of politics. Suffice to say, it was a pretty serious election. To get in on the action, these celebrities—people who, in many cases, already get plenty of attention—used this past election as a springboard to get even more attention. This is a significant reason why I deliberately to tune out any celebrity voices when hot-button political and social issues arise. What they did was just a few notches down from the bombastic over-the-top blathering Trump did himself. Some of these people could have taken advantage of so many people hearing them, and said something meaningful. Imagine if they took a moment, put something coherent together, and spoke about the implications of the election, or theorized and provoked people to think. It could have been a catalyst for a more fulsome conversation. Instead, they chose platitudes and hyperbole. Maybe I’m asking for too much, when I want for people with comparatively louder public voices to have something relevant to say, but nonetheless it’s fun to watch all that backpedalling.
It’s interesting to note that while most of those celebrities backpedalled out of their original promises or pretended they weren’t serious, many average Joes and Janes in the U.S. tried to hatch plans of their own to find a new place to live. The moment the tides began to turn in favour of the Republican party that fateful Nov. 8evening, Canada’s immigration website crashed from an inundation of disaffected Americans, wondering what sort of conditions need to be met before they can move in with us. At the end of the day, however, I will be a good archetypal Canadian and welcome all our neighbours, even if they include melodramatic and hypocritical celebrities.