The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula. The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.
Kim Kardashian created conversation about prison reform in the Trump administration.
Known primarily for reality TV, Kim Kardashian surprised many when she stepped into the public policy arena. Starting with two women facing arguably tougher sentences for their convictions, she went to the top to make a change: the office of the President of the United States. And, she did more than just a publicity stunt – she got their sentences commuted.
Bring vocal publically, Kardashian made it known she was taking on the cases of Cyntoia Brown and Alice Johnson
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown pic.twitter.com/73y26mLp7u
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 21, 2017
I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 31, 2018
Brown was a sex-trafficked teenager convicted of killing a man who hired her for sexual favors and denied parole. Johnson is a great-grandmother is a one-time offended convicted on a non-violent drug offense. Both were serving life sentences.
The reality star Kardashian did more than just tweet about injustice – she had her personal lawyer look into their cases and visited President Trump, ultimately getting the sentences commuted for both women.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
Although reality TV star Kardashian used her fame to create a seeming injustice, the public’s perception wasn’t as warm.
trump invited kim kardashian to the white house, well, are you sure he didn’t invite the wrong kim by mistake instead of kim jong-un. it seems like politics these days is like a reality show.
— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) June 2, 2018
Celebrities using their fame to make a change in major issues isn’t new. U2’s Bono picked up the cause of ending world hunger, Liam Neeson backs UNICEF, and Eunice Kennedy used the Kennedy founded the Special Olympics. All considered worthy individuals and causes.
Why is Kim Kardashian’s different? Is the Trump Administration making it harder for celebrities to advocate for worthy issues?
There is argument for this idea. Linda McMahon, a found of the World Wrestling Entertainment, is the Administrator of the Small Business Association in the Trump Administration. Aside from owning a business, McMahon didn’t come with experience like her predecessors. Famed “The Apprentice” candidate Omarosa Manigault Newman served as the Director of Communications, but went through a very public eviction from the White House residence after she was fired (for the second time). And, Trump’s own family members, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, having roles in the current administration without having experience or education for those roles.
Kardashian fits the mold: public stunt or using fame without proper experience or education. Skepticism makes sense.
But, there are countless celebrities who are vocal about prison reform. None have made the direct impact Kardashian has in such a short timeframe. Is she early in her advocacy role?
Who cares? We shouldn’t.
Was the tweet a publicity stunt? Again, who cares? If it was, she knew how to work within a system and get results. That’s what we expect our politicians to do. Kardashian figured out how to do it in the real world, not reality TV.
We elected a celebrity to the office of president. We get mad because he doesn’t follow the rules. So, someone figured out how to play by his rules to get things done. It took a celebrity to show us that.
Kudos to Kim Kardashian.