Last night, Kelly Clarkson got an impromptu lesson on the impact of Twitter and the secret past of Ron Paul. The “Stronger” singer’s evening took a pretty intense left-hand turn when, only an hour after letting the world know that she was enjoying making cinnamon rolls with her niece, she decided to sound off on her love for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
“I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance,” she wrote of the oft-lampooned Libertarian. “If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.”
That particular expression of appreciation did not sit well with Clarkson’s 925,000 followers, many of whom began to take Clarkson to task for her endorsement. It began with relative civility, but as most things on the Internet (and especially on Twitter) tend to do, it got out of hand with alarming speed.
When Clarkson was told by several followers about Paul’s alleged history of racism and homophobia (something that has become a big part of his recent narrative thanks to the unearthing of his old newsletters), the singer responded that she hadn’t heard any of that.
“That’s because you willfully ignoring his voting record, his statements, interviews, newletters, and policy positions,” one respondent tweeted. “You are obviously living under a rock. I don’t even live in the united states and hear about his stupidity,” tweeted another.
Clarkson kept trying to maintain calm, noting, “I am about progress. Ron Paul is about letting people decide, not the government. I am for this.” Naturally, that mature, measured response inspired an elevated level of discourse. “Its good that you dont want women to have the right to choose & think ppl should die in the ER,” wrote one follower. Another added, “I’ve never been more disapointed [sic] I thought you were smarter.”
At that point, many other people came to Clarkson’s defense. “I love you girl,” one wrote. “If they dont love you over your political support…then they dont love you!” Clarkson continued to clarify her stance, noting in an extended tweet, “I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent. I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women’s rights, men’s rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he’s my favorite.”
She finally put it to bed with an extended note about hate and debate. Of course, asking people to be measured on Twitter is an uphill battle, but to her credit, Clarkson maintained her cool and didn’t waver from her stance.
How do you think Clarkson handled the situation? Should she have heeded the advice of the follower who said, “The first rule of pop club is you do not talk about politics”? Make your endorsements in the comments.
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