Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon
By now everyone knows about our California recall election next week. Either Gavin Newsom remains as governor or another candidate such as a conservative talk show host and self-proclaimed "Sage of South Central" (okay, there can be more than one :)) will occupy the covered seat in Sacramento. I can tell you that I have made my choice, I voted, sent in my ballot and that's the last you'll hear from me about this subject.
As if anyone reading this actually cares.
This is how it should be when you read a news story of an actor, singer or artist speak on a controversial subject or run for public office themselves. The late former President Ronald Reagan was an actor before he ran and won the governorship of this state back in the mid-1960's. If I recall, he didn't 'make waves' as an actor offering his opinion on the subjects of the day. I do remember he would make them as governor. Today's celebrities and pop-culture icons would produce clickbait for online web sites or old school front page news by just opening their mouths and saying whatever turns those pages or keeps those clicks coming. The difference between the mid-1960's and today is so different, you almost long for those days to come back.
For example, what does a reality show star have to offer but their opinion on a subject matter? My life won't change much because this reality show star said we should do something about racial disparity in the prison system, or better food choices for the poor. When the L.A. Unrest exploded, celebrities who would never set foot in this area were out by the hundreds. Whether you're from a Different World or the stars of a television show from a new network, these celebrities actually believe just by showing up and speaking what's on their hearts, things will improve.They did, but it wasn't up to them.
The title of this essay is truthful. What does my opinion have to do with anything? I could say 'wear a mask' or 'social distance' all I want, but it's up to you, the reader to decide if that's the best course of action. All I can do is speak my mind. I may not change one mind at all, and that's okay. Why is it assumed our pop-culture stars have the 'magic bullet' to change social policy? They don't and never will.
If we as a society pay too much attention to our icons, letting them dictate how we vote, what social justice causes should we pursue, then we are like a certain political ideology defines us as..."sheep." We should never allow that to happen. We should think for ourselves and make choices because we have a right to do so. Not because so-and-so said it. It doesn't matter if it's a website, blog (like this one), or any other medium which the masses can be reached. A pop-culture icon has never made a decision for me, and never will. I hope as an author, I never have that power. I can persuade, but that's about it. The choice of anything you do should always remain with you. Not the celebrity speaking out. It's totally up to you.