I’m a fan of actress and model Emily Ratajkowski. I think she’s beautiful, talented, and has a great sense of fashion. Although she and I have very different beliefs on politics and social issues, I truly admire her passion for sticking up for what she believes in.
I have no problem with celebrities speaking up on political issues. It’s a free country, and they have the right to use their platform to voice their opinion. However, I think it’s important to discuss what celebrities say, as well as the political and social ramifications behind their words. Ratajkowski’s recent tweet on how Bernie Sanders is a centrist and Barack Obama is right-wing is no exception.
Ratajkowski’s Previous Activism and Leftist Politics in Hollywood
This isn’t the first time Ratajkowski has spoken up on politics. She’s a very vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders and was critical of some of her fellow influencers for posting the black square on #BlackoutTuesday but not posting additional resources. She also doubled down on her criticism of Obama, tweeting, “Obama let Ferguson’s police department tear gas & beat citizens who were protesting the murder of #michaelbrown. He also sent the National Guard so…”
As I said, there’s nothing wrong with celebrities speaking their minds on political issues. I actually give Ratajkowski credit for speaking out about opinions that are considered unpopular because that takes a lot of courage. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that celebrities have large platforms. With 26.6 million followers on Instagram and 1.5 million followers on Twitter, Ratajkowski arguably has quite a bit of influence.
There's a trend of popular celebrities and publications promoting radical far-left politics. Several celebrities recently signed an open letter to defund the police, failing to realize the complexities of the issue. GQ recently published an article that’s a reading list “for radicalizing your parents.” One of the articles on this list is titled “In Defense of Looting.” Other recommendations are books on police and prison abolition. Not reform, but abolition.
GQ recently published an article recommending books on police and prison abolition.
Unsurprising yet disheartening, Teen Vogue is the worst offender, publishing articles on ANTIFA and anarchism, saying that it’s “a complicated philosophy that’s more than just a punk rock phrase.” This is the same magazine that eulogized Fidel Castro (yes, the Castro that is responsible for millions fleeing Cuba due to his Communist dictatorship) to thousands of teenage girls, so we shouldn’t be too surprised.
These articles, as well as Ratajkowski’s tweets, depict radical far-left politics to be cool and trendy. This brings me to the point that there is a divide in the Democratic Party between the progressives and moderates.
If Obama Is Right-Wing, What Does the Left Look Like?
It's pretty hard to see how one argue that Obama is more conservative compared to other Democrats. Although he was much less outright in his support for socialism, Barack Obama implemented plenty of left-wing policies: Obamacare, DACA, and the Paris Climate Agreement, for a start. Just because Bernie Sanders has made "democratic socialism" into the new political movement du jour, doesn't mean that previous Democrats have been particularly centrist.
There are those in the political left who do see less radical Democrats as too centrist, or close to leaning across the aisle. Depending on which side one thinks has more power and influence in Washington, you'll see arguments that the Democratic Party is moving to the left or moving to the right.
It’s clear that Ratajkowski is in the camp that believes the Democratic Party is shifting to the right, making Obama right-wing. This leads us to wonder that if Obama is right-wing and Bernie is in the center, what does she think the left wing looks like?
Notable politicians who represent the far left are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her "progressive squad.”
When it comes to notable politicians who represent the far left (or what Ratajkowski refers to as left-wing), one thinks of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow "progressive squad" members Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. All four women have had their fair share of controversies, from Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal to Tlaib and Omar being accused of anti-Semitic comments. Two things all four of them have in common is that they’re on the progressive side of the party and they aren’t afraid to clash with Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi. They’re also very popular with the media (Ocasio-Cortez appeared as a guest judge on the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race). Most notably, they’re all considered to be the future of the Democratic Party.
What Does This Mean for the Future?
It’s no secret that we live in a deeply divided country. Although it can be argued that we’ve been divided as Republicans and Democrats over the past two centuries, we’re starting to see stark divisions within the two parties. The division in the Democratic party is clear as day, and the Republican party isn't immune to division either.
Now we’re starting to see stark divisions within the two parties.
If our country keeps going in this direction, our country is going to become more divided and hostile than ever. As evidenced by Ratajkowski’s original tweet, the reality of the Overton window is not only changing, but we’re also at the point of debating what’s left-wing and what’s right-wing.
Ratajkowski’s tweet is only one symptom of the growing political divide in our country. Maybe, instead of focusing on where people fall on an imaginary political spectrum, let's talk about the vision we have for our country's future and go from there. Sorting people into categories just makes it more difficult to come together as a country. Also, we might need to have a conversation on just how left we're willing to go, if we're considering Bernie Sanders to be a centrist.