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Houston Matters

Should Politics Belong Solely To The Politicians?

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

Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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 Summers, Houston 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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