Shania Twain has apologized after saying she would have voted for U.S. President Donald Trump, but publicists say it would have been better if the Canadian music legend had simply kept quiet.
People are allowed to have an opinion.
I’ll say it again for the ones in the back: “People are allowed to have an opinion.”
I may not agree with the opinion. I may think the opinion is wrong, uninformed, unintelligent, unintelligible. It may be an ignorant opinion. It may even be a harmful or hurtful opinion.
People are allowed to have an opinion nonetheless.
We live in a country that protects freedom of expression. Freedom of expression for me means freedom of expression for you, and I will defend your right to it.
I must admit that I don’t understand people who vote for or who support Trump. I can’t even begin to describe his hate-filled, dumbed-down rhetoric. His vocabulary is limited. He self-aggrandizes. He cheats on his wives (plural). He was slow — painstakingly so — to distance himself from white supremacists and the KKK. Neo-nazism sees its advent under this administration. He bullies people on Twitter. He publicly disparages employees and state leaders (and the wives of political candidates) on social media. He believes that his power allows him to grab women by the pussy. His racism — the long racist past of himself and his companies — is well documented. He has an absurd preoccupation with Obama and Hillary Clinton. He is the mediocre White man personified — entitled and privileged, wrapped in a blanket of insecurity and shrouded by enablers. And then there is his political base. Many people in his base disgust me. Many of them are ignorant and entitled and privileged and racist — just like their leader. That he would be heralded as the hero of the conservative (mostly Christian) right… I just… I just can’t.
His politics? Lord, his politics… I can’t even begin to unpack his so-called politics. For one, he wants to build a wall and was going to force the Mexicans to pay for it but now he’s looking for others to pay for it? And DACA? I can’t. I really can’t.
I could go on, but I won’t. I’ll just quote Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story: Donald Trump is a sad, strange little man and he has my pity.
That said, just because I don’t understand your vote doesn’t mean I don’t support your right to vote. Just because I disagree with your support of a candidate doesn’t make me a bad person. Neither does it make you.
So I find the swift backlash that Shania Twain has faced to be uncalled for.
Canada and the United States are democracies. In fact, we paint ourselves as the exemplars of democracy for the rest of the world. We are not in a dictatorship — no one opinion prevails. We are in a democracy. Demos. Cratos. “Power of the people.” And the people are diverse, which entails a diversity of thought, belief and opinion. What does it say about us if we silence the voices of those with whom we don’t agree?
As long as it is not hate speech, Shania Twain gets to say what she wants to say because she lives in this democracy. Again, I don’t agree with what she says, but I’ll defend her right to say it.
And even though she is a celebrity, I wish she felt confident enough in that fact — the fact that she has a right to her thoughts. Even if publicists would advise differently, I think there is something to be said for abiding by one’s conscience.
It would seem that some people want their celebrities to be apolitical. If you are a singer, just sing. If you are a writer, just write. If you are a football player, just play football. Don’t have an opinion. Just be monolithic and stoic and reserved and one-dimensional and stick to entertaining us.
The problem is our celebrities are multi-dimensional human beings and they have a right to speak on issues which may concern them or others.
It is in that vein that I believe that Shania should have a) said what she wanted to and b) not apologized.
There is no apology needed. You apologize when you’ve done something wrong. Shania did nothing wrong.
If you are going to be wrong, be wrong and strong. She should have just said her piece and held her peace. Wrong and strong is the way to go sometimes.
Our world is increasingly liberal. But I feel that starting to apologize for contrarian beliefs will be a slippery slope and that this will further solidify the chilling effect for those with unorthodox views — views that differ from the majority. It is important that those with a platform are able to contribute to the diversity of thought so that the voices of the minority can be heard and amplified.