There’s almost nothing as enticing to someone on the Right than a celebrity who shares their opinions.
Because the core values of conservatism so often clash with pop culture, finding a well-known figure who has made it big, and also agrees with at least a portion of your worldview, is too good to pass up.
Which is exactly why we should approach similar scenarios with some caution.
Fawning over celebrity is exactly how we got here. And by “here” I mean a reality-star-turned-winning-GOP-presidential-candidate whose past (and present) behavior is so often excused by throngs of Republicans because, “hey, at least we’re back in the White House!” The same can be said for the Evangelicals who blindly support the 45th president. No word or deed could convince them to withhold support from a man who is quite obviously not a representative of any kind of faith, except faith in himself.
They, too, are impressed by the superficial.
The last thing we need to do is fall all over Kanye West (or someone similar) because of a few social media statements that appear to line up neatly with some of our opinions. There is nothing about being a celebrity that makes point-of-view worth more. Status and name recognition do not equal good sense or well-informed principles. The power that comes along with popularity does not automatically confer on its owner any sort of expertise.
Though I don’t enjoy rap music at all, I can recognize Kanye West’s talent. He’s a gifted artist with a large fan base. He is extremely wealthy. He also enjoys making statements that are meant to rile up and create buzz. This is exactly what he’s doing when he tweets his praise of Donald Trump and the MAGA mindset.
Is Kanye wrong when he says we should encourage independent thought? No. Is he correct when he says that hate is not the answer? Yes.
Does this indicate a shift in the culture and a turning of the tide? Absolutely not.
At best, Kanye West is enamored with the president’s enterprising spirit. He is blown away by the success Trump has had as an outsider. He, too, recognizes the energetic attitude with which our leader approaches his duties.
If any other individual would have tweeted the exact things that West did, we wouldn’t be talking about it. They aren’t groundbreaking or substantial. They are some general, rather neutral observations. But because a celebrity’s name was attached to them, suddenly they’re worthy of such praise?
It makes no sense.
Actually, it’s embarrassing to be an ex-GOP member of the Right and look at fellow conservatives as they jump up and down with excitement at all of it. This behavior only indicates a desperation to be noticed by THE COOL KIDS and a desire to fit in. But that should never be our goal.
Fitting in isn’t exactly what conservatives do. We aren’t keen on entitlements. We prize individual responsibility. We seek to protect unborn life. We live in a world that mocks faith and family. Free markets are our jam. We want less government, not more. We support a strong national defense. We love traditionalism. We are patriots.
So, why should we care if someone deeply embedded in a world so different from our own looks our way and winks?
Again, I appreciate the promotion of independent thought, but don’t try to convince me that we’ll sit down with Kanye West at the table of ideas and come to an agreement. Furthermore, don’t tell me he’s going to be – or is – a great ambassador for our cause.
He’s trolling you, and you’re falling for it.
If I would have had my way, Governor Scott Walker would be our president right now. No glitz. No glam. No celebrity. Just actual experience, results, and a strong commitment to actual conservatism.
But such normalcy isn’t so fun and dazzling to voters as the other.
And that is the problem.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.