Why It’s Okay To Disagree With Artists Like Eddie Vedder & Chris Cornell On Politics

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So it happened. The 2016 Presidential election is finally over with. Many of us are relieved to see the rollercoaster come to an end, while others are distraught. There’s an uneasy feeling in America, and it’s been publicized not only by average citizens, but by many celebrities as well.

Politics, like art, is controversial. There’s usually not a concrete answer behind anything. This is why many musicians choose to express their social and political views through their music. They are already in the spotlight, so if they can use their art to stress what they think is important to their fans then it makes perfect sense.

Take Eddie Vedder for example. It’s not a question whose side he was on this time around, having worn Donald Trump masks on stage and shouting “Fuck Donald Trump!” Pearl Jam canceled a show earlier this year in North Carolina due to a law against the LGBT community. They made a public statement following the event in order to bring light to the subject and advocate for change. Chris Cornell has made several comments on Twitter about racism, one specifically referring to the celebration of Columbus Day being by “crazy racists.”

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On Twitter, many people react positively to their favorite musicians using their voices to promote social change. Others, on the contrary, say things like, “Chris, hide your political opinion. Fans don’t care. Give us music and opinions about bands & songs.”

Whether I agree or disagree with what the musicians say is a whole other story, but why should a musician “hide” their political opinion? This is one of the biggest problems with America. We put celebrities on a pedestal and try to oppress and ridicule them at the same time. What if someone told you to hide your opinion because they didn’t like it?

At the end of the day, behind all of the talent – they are human beings. And if they are American citizens, they have every right to be vocal about the issues prevalent in this country. We make celebrities as big as they are, and then when they try to use their popularity to their advantage, we try to silence them. What is the logic here?

Now, on the other hand – I think that celebrities should try to be conscious and respectful of their fans’ opinions as well. For example, despite Vedder’s intense hatred for Trump, I can only hope that he would not ever be rude or indifferent to any of his pro-Trump fans if he were to meet them. Musicians and fans are all equally entitled to their opinions, but the musician-fan relationship should never be tainted by politics. That connection should be solely about the music that brought them together in the first place.

So with that, I am sorry if it upset you that your favorite musical artist – or any celebrity – said something to counter your beliefs about social and political issues, and especially about this election. But just remember that they have the same rights as us, and mainly choose to be vocal because they know so many are listening to them already. It’s okay to disagree with someone you worship and admire, just as it is okay to disagree with your friends and family. At the end of the day, we all have different backgrounds and come from different places…so we will all have different perspectives. Just remember the music, and, like Cornell has said before, “to be yourself is all that you can do.”

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  • Trovoid

    Nicely written article. I keep seeing so much hate coming from fans lately. Many seem to complain because some of their favorite musicians have liberal views. They’ll call them hypocritical because they’re successful and wealthy now. Maybe some celebrities empathize with the youth because they remember once struggling? Especially those Seattle guys. Since the early nineties, singers like Chris and Eddie were making it clear that they had strong social and political values. If the listener has different opinions, whatever. Neither should completely disregard the other. But this is humanity nowadays. Celebrities are commodities and everything they do or say is held to high standard.. I know for a fact that many of the people I’ve met throughout my life would be saying all sorts of stupid shit if they had access to that kind of media exposure.

  • Lucky Neko

    No worries, Vedder actually voted for Trump, despite, lol!

    • EdsMyMan

      I’m sure you will have front row seats at the Trump U trial where Trump will be on trial for defrauding little old ladies of their life savings as you are all cruddy two-bit con artists.

      • Jessica Murphy

        Sucks there won’t be a trial. Trump went back on his promise (surprised?) and settled the case for $25 million.

  • IrregularJohn

    Thank God for Brian Johnson, at least he does not try to shove his political opinions down your throat in between AC/DC songs. Eddie, Chris, just shut up and play the damn songs.

    • EdsMyMan

      Don’t go to their concerts.

      • IrregularJohn

        You don’t need to go to PJ’s concerts to hear Eddie preaching about this or that – just watch their live DVDs, there’ll be plenty of it on there.

        • EdsMyMan

          Don’t watch them!!!

          • IrregularJohn

            How about you don’t tell me what to do?

          • EdsMyMan

            So, you can tell the rock stars what to do from their own stage but nobody can tell you to shut up about it?

          • IrregularJohn

            I think were it not for their respective fans those rockstars wouldn’t have been rich as hell. Furthermore most fans when they get a ticket to a rock show or buy a live concert on DVD – they do it to hear the songs performed live, not to listen to ramblings of a formerly “tortured soul” about his political belief system.

          • Corndog

            I ‘lol’ed’ at ramblings of a formerly “tortured soul”.

            That’s what they should call their next album:)

  • EdsMyMan

    That’s YOUR opinion. Donald Trump is a two-bit con man who rips off little old ladies of their life savings. If Pearl Jam wants to diss their Trump supporter fans that’s their perogative.

  • Jaymaster77

    Both Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell were great friends of the late Johnny Ramone, who was probably the most conservative man in the music biz… So much for not dissing people of different political orientation.
    On and off stage they’re entitled to their positions and that’s part of what makes their art too

    • Trovoid

      Great point, I completely forgot about this. I remember hearing Eddie say that they had polar opposite political views but they really bonded. Seen some nice pictures of Johnny, Eddie and Chris at Lollapalooza 1996.

    • EdsMyMan

      Was Johnny Ramone a racist? An authoritarian a-hole?

    • Kim Campbell Kinowski

      When Chris did that song (Til the sun comes back around) for the movie 13 Hours; secret soldiers of Benghazi, he would talk about Hilary Clinton being responsible for the death of those soldiers before he preformed it live. I have not heard his personal politics but I would guess he did not support either candidate? Either way I would listen to him sing the ingredient list off a bag of gmo cat food.