Donald Trump has a way of making things weird. Well, this isn’t exactly Trump’s fault, but instead a side-effect of the hysteria around his election. Suddenly, the most uncontroversial statements have a way of making headlines. Case in point: pop star Taylor Swift reflecting on 2017 and saying, “I could not have had a better year” on Instagram created a firestorm. Billboard reported, “The pop superstar’s Reputation was a runaway bestseller in its first week as it smashed through the 1 million sales milestone in the U.S. and bowed atop charts around the globe. Her world tour in support of the album is scheduled to kick off in May.”
Immediately, as it is best at doing, the Internet pounced. Twitter users and columnists retorted with reminders about Trump policies (the travel ‘ban’), tragic stories in the news (mass shootings) and the alt-right to explain why they not only considered 2017 a bad year, but also why Swift should as well.
Swift, a pretty and peppy white woman, is already a reviled figure among SJW types. Swift has also committed the cardinal sin of not voicing her political opinions every moment of the day; or ever, actually. It’s unclear as to why, she just goes about doing her job as a musician and stays on message about her music and personal life. Swift may feel as though politics has permeated too much of our everyday lives, or simply believes that as a woman in the business of making music, it’s best not to alienate any of her fan base with her opinions. Given Swift’s close friendship with liberals like Lena Dunham, it’s not unreasonable to believe she holds liberal beliefs, but we’ve yet to hear about any of them. And for that, Swift should be applauded.
Politics has indeed penetrated too much of our daily lives, as evidenced by the backlash Swift faced by making a statement as innocent as “I had a good year.” How did she analyze her year? Perhaps with such unheard of metrics as professional and personal success, factoring in if she (gasp) had fun, even if it was during the first year of a Trump presidency.
How many of the individuals dragging Swift were personally affected by any of the negative news stories of the year? Did they lose a friend or family member in a mass shooting or find they were unable to enter the country because of their citizenship to a handful of countries? It’s unlikely.
The fact is, despite the panic after Trump’s election, the daily lives of the vast majority of the country have not changed at all. There has been no war, no detention centers established, and the economy is doing just fine. While many Americans (myself included) may find Trump’s words to be distasteful, inflammatory, and embarrassing, I could turn off all access to news sources and observe absolutely no change in my daily routine.
Even though I didn’t vote for President Trump, I am somehow able to evaluate my year outside of politics. Like Swift, I, too, had a good year. My husband and I had a third baby, we both enjoyed professional success and went on vacations together and individually. Having a Republican in the White House is for many young people an experience they likely have little to no memory of. After eight years of Obama’s presidency, it takes some time to get used to the fact that sometimes the President says and does things we disagree with, or find unbefitting of the office he occupies. Calling the white nationalists who killed a woman “good people” in Charlottesville was awful, but so too was the Obama administration’s work helping shield a terrorist organization, Hezbollah, from an investigation about its drug ring, in order to advance an ill-advised and ill-conceived nuclear deal with Iran.
This isn’t whataboutism, but simply a reminder that there were actions taken by the previous administration with which many conservatives disagreed. And yet, despite eight years of an Obama administration, most of the country was able to remain positive about their personal lives, even in the face of an unpleasant political environment. Because that’s all politics is: politics. The election of Donald Trump may provide an important lesson for liberals in separating the political from the personal; because if they don’t, it’s going to be a very upsetting next three years.
Image: Instagram/Taylor Swift