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[Note: the following opinion is entirely the editor's own. Read at your own discretion.]
Last Friday, the world awoke to news that Taylor Swift's entire discography had returned to streaming services in celebration of 10 million global sales of 1989.
Now, every Swift album from her 2006 self-titled to 2014's 1989 is available via Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. It was hailed as a revolutionary move - Swift had reentered herself into the world of pop culture without saying as much as a word. Forbes called it "her most brilliant move yet."
In the midst of the 2016 election, more celebrities than ever got involved in the conversation taking place. Beyonce and Jay-Z joined Hillary Clinton in Cleveland. Katy Perry worked hard to generate interest in voting with her millennial audience by joining in Clinton campaign rallies. George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Madonna are only a few names of a long list of celebrities that endorsed the presidential candidate most obviously fit for this country.
So why did Swift keep quiet? Her one and only acknowledgement of the election was this vague Instagram of her hitting the voting polls:
This isn't to say that a celebrity's place is in the political sphere - hell, if I had it my way, we wouldn't have a celebrity best known for firing people on a reality TV series as our president at all. There is no obligation whatsoever that comes with having your name in headlines that requires you to voice your political beliefs. However, it is the nature of Swift's silence that is most disturbing - for someone who profits off "feminism" (while still publicly feuding with another successful woman, Katy Perry) and all that entails, why keep quiet about an election that affects the entire world in and of itself? It's surprising that someone who advocates equal rights for women as much as Swift does had nothing to say about 45's public "grabbing" comments, or the allegations of sexual abuse.
"Who is Taylor Swift voting for?" was one of the highest searched queries of the 2016 campaign season, according to the Daily Beast. Why does it matter so much? Well, to be honest, it doesn't. Now that we know what we know (we had no chance of a non-biased, sans-voter-fraud election anyway), it wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference whether or not Swift spoke out to her millions upon millions of fans. But the indisputable fact that she didn't still keeps me, a Latinx immigrant woman, incapable of listening to Swift's music without being reminded of everything she did not say.
The platform Swift stands on is her biggest asset as well as her biggest downfall. It's an asset because she has the power to influence change - she already did so, with her public letter to Apple Music that made them re-evaluate their artist payments. It's her biggest downfall because she does not use it. With the ability to reach a significant number of the world's population at her disposal, it's disconcerting that the only thing Swift is interested in is self-promo - and that is something we will not forget.
Taylor, we will not forget your silence because it proves that you didn't find it important or beneficial enough to yourself to say anything at all. We will not forget your silence because, believe it or not, a big majority of your fanbase includes immigrant, disabled, and LGBTQ+ kids who look up to you for your voice, who were bulled into that same silence without choice by the many, many offensive remarks made by 45 against their communities. We will not forget your silence because while the world burned, you pretended like it wasn't.