Monday, April 20, 2009

Jackie Chan: Against Democracy?

I want to begin by saying that I believe that celebrities should be allowed to say anything that they want. At the same time, they should realize that stupid comments can get them in trouble with fans who may choose to no longer see their movies. After Mel Gibson’s anti-semitic comments, I have chosen to no longer see his movies.

Jackie Chan had recently spoken out with comments that were critical of democracy. He said, “I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic. ... I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."

There is a difference between doing anything you want and having freedom with restrictions. In the United States, you are allowed to speak out when you disagree with the policies of the government. When President Bush was in office, people spoke out against the United States being in Iraq. Now that President Obama is in office, there are people on the other side of the political spectrum who are speaking out against our nation’s current fiscal policies.

As I said on a radio show that I called into recently, protest leads to discussion which leads to democracy. I respect and encourage those who disagree with me politically to speak out. Maybe they will have some valid points on certain issues. No political party is always right.

The government of China is not a democracy. They do not allow people to publicly speak out against certain policies. When one does not have the right to protest the policies of the government, it is possible that the few will rule in power against the wishes of the many.

What if the government of China decided that action movies were inappropriate for the people in China to view? What if that meant that Jackie Chan’s action movies were banned in China? Would he still believe that democracy may not be a good choice for nations?

In the United States, maybe our freedom has led to people not making the best choices in their own lives. Freedom means that people have the right to make their own choices, even if others think that those people say and do stupid things. I think it’s safe to say that Jackie Chan has definitely exercised his right to say something very stupid.

While I believe that it was a stupid thing for Jackie Chan to question if democracy is the best solution, I think he should clarify what he truly means. If he is against democracy, say so. If he prefers democracy, say so. If he is not sure if democracy is a good or a bad thing, then give some examples. I think that he was trying to appeal to a group that is also against democracy. What Jackie Chan should learn is that sometimes the opinion you take can actually cost you fans. Trying to be Mr. Nice Guy to those against democracy may not have been the best choice for him to make. Maybe it would have been better had he not spoken out at all.


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