I’m with the girl from Tennessee.
“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country,” she said.
“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.”
“I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
That’s mega star Taylor Swift explaining to her 112 million Instagram followers why, for the first time in her life, she’s publicly voicing her political opinions — and voting against the Republican candidates running for Congress in her state, including the incumbent Marsha Blackburn, whose voting record on equal pay, domestic violence and gay rights “appalls and terrifies me.”
Venturing deeper into uncharted waters, Swift then named the Democratic men for whom she’s voting: Phil Bredesen, the popular former governor of Tennessee who’s running for the U.S. Senate against Blackburn, and Jim Cooper, the Harvard-educated lawyer running for Congress.
Republicans, however, experienced a meltdown.
And I’m not talking just about Internet trolls. The right-wing think tank Institute for Policy Innovation (quite the misnomer) issued a statement Tuesday saying Swift had bought into the policy views of “lefties” because, according to them, the gender gap doesn’t exist.
And President Donald Trump’s reaction? He likes her music “25 percent less now.”
How dare she opine on big guy stuff?
Remember, the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted after singer Natalie Maines criticized President George W. Bush’s Iraq War at a London concert in 2003, saying: “We do not want this war, this violence and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”
Brava then, and brava now.
Swift took a risk, but the pop star also struck a chord.
I couldn’t have summed up better what’s at the crux of that constant sense of outrage and fear we’ve felt during the last two years. Autocrat Donald Trump became president and Republicans sold out principle and humanity to a divisive dark money-driven, right-wing agenda that threatens everything from the environment and healthcare to the basic human rights we should be upholding, not discarding.
Instead of being a check on the president, Republicans have for the most part embraced the ride to total power and domination. They only talk bipartisanship when they need the votes. They tolerate Trump’s repugnant and undignified behavior, and thus, have given Trump permission to standardize it. It doesn’t demean the country as long as it pushes through the Republican agenda. Party and president have become one and the same. And Trump, instead of being an abomination of a Republican, has become the quintessential Republican.
If you believe the political pundits, Republicans are re-energized by the divisive confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court — despite credible allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford while drunk in high school and exposed himself to Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez while drunk in college. A speedy, limited and manipulated FBI investigation later, they succeeded in infecting the highest court in the land with partisanship — cause for Republicans to move upbeat and hopeful into the midterms.
They won the dirty contest! MAGA!
Now we have one man accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct in the White House — and another in the Supreme Court.
Let Republicans party on, celebrate infamy. It’s still a free country.
But if you find President Trump repugnant — and if you stand for those apple pie American values Swift has outlined — you’ve got to do the right thing for the country.
You should punish enabling Republicans — and vote Democrat down ballot.
Vote with the girl from Tennessee.
Follow Santiago on Twitter, @fabiolasantiago