Opinion

Endorse me not: A plea for celebrities to keep their politics private

Celebrities know how to create hype during election season.

Paris Hilton forgot to rock the vote when she failed to cast her ballot, despite of endorsing then-Senator Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential elections.

Just last week, Samuel L. Jackson raised some eyebrows when in an interview with Ebony Magazine admitted he voted for President Obama “because he was black.”

With both of these incidents, The Threefold Advocate must ask if celebrity endorsements actually make a difference.

The math of endorsement is pretty simple. The public likes seeing their celebrities on television, therefore if celebrities say they like a product, in this case a candidate, people might like it as well. Endorsers use Hollywood stars because they believe we desire power and a connection to the famous. Though this sounds appealing, it might not be the case.

According to a CBS poll taken during the 2008 presidential elections, 78 percent of people expected celebrity endorsement to have “no effect on the election,” while nine percent said endorsements would make people less likely to vote for a candidate.

The Threefold Advocate believes people should vote for a candidate based solely on their goals and achievements, not because their favorite celebrity says to.

Take Hilton’s case before she began supporting Clinton. While off camera in 2007, Larry King asked the ex-jailbird heiress when was the last time she voted. Her answer was “last year,” according to msn.com. When King became baffled and asked in what election she voted in, her response was “presidential.”

If celebrities choose to go down the endorsing route we believe they should possess the common skill to register. Hilton’s solution is simple: do not endorse if you do not plan to vote. Stars should also be equipped with basic knowledge of what their candidate stands for before making any decision, something Jackson failed to do.

According to the New York Post, Jackson contended that Obama’s message was of no importance since he believes most politicians will say anything to get elected. “I just hoped he would do some of what he said he was gonna do,” Jackson said to TMZ.

Voting based on race is not the issue, it is about having concrete reasons on why your candidate is the best to serve in the White House.

The mutual relationship between celebrities and politics must stop. Instead of building a stronger image for their candidates these superstars may hinder their chances of winning by showing lack of knowlege.

Celebrities should step down from their pedestal and focus on at least getting to know the presidential candidates.