Houston Matters

Should Politics Belong Solely To The Politicians?

Should artists, musicians, and celebrities leave the political talk to actual policy makers?

Oprah Winfrey poses with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards.

When Jimmy Kimmel talks about health care, or when Oprah Winfrey mentions the #MeToo movement in her Golden Globes acceptance speech, or when Ben & Jerry’s ice cream wades into the mire of systemic racism, the public’s responses can vary pretty widely. Some will glowingly support an artist or celebrity’s use of their notoriety for a good cause. Others, however, will decry such actions with angry threats of boycotts and the common refrain of “keep your politics out of my [fill in the blank]!” Or “stick to making ice cream!”

With an increased ability to reach a large audience, it seems that more than ever we’re seeing celebrities, athletes, and other public figures speak out on social and political issues — and audiences on both sides of the spectrum can just as easily comment via social media.

But should there be a limit? Should political talk be left only to actual policy makers? And, is it possible to avoid referencing these topics — whether overtly or not?

To discuss, Houston Matters talks with three guests: Patrick SummersHouston Grand Opera’s artistic and musical director; Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor; and Father Chris Valka, director of the Center for Faith and Culture at the University of St. Thomas.

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