By Erin Drushel
There are many more important issues going on in the world today than where two American celebrities take their vacation. Oops, did I say “vacation?” I meant “Treasury-sanctioned people-to-people educational exchange.”
Insert eye-rolling here.
Superstar music couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z recently celebrated their 5th anniversary together in Cuba. US law prohibits ordinary Americans from vacationing in Cuba. Strict rules regulate American visits to Cuba, and only travel that demonstrates opposition to the current communist government is permitted.
Did Beyoncé and Jay-Z follow the rules as tightly as they are prescribed? We may never know. Is it really that important? In the grand scheme of things, no. But the law is the law.
Before I start my rant, I just want to say that I am not a “hater.” I like Beyoncé. Quite frankly, I don’t know much about Jay-Z other than he’s a rapper… and I haven’t listened to rap since I was about 12…
This whole situation reeks of elitism. It’s the “I’m famous and I get to do whatever I want” attitude which was clearly demonstrated in Jay-Z’s retort to critics Any “regular” person would end up in some kind of trouble.
This little trip shows a complete lack of awareness on the part of the couple – a close cousin to Dennis Rodman’s recent trip to North Korea. Hey Beyoncé: After (not) singing at President Obama’s inauguration and seeming to enjoy a friendship with him, didn’t you think this could cause him some problems? Don’t you think he has enough problems fighting against elitism and wealthy preferential treatment in pursuit of equality without you demonstrating the benefits of privilege? And that’s not even mentioning the plight of the Cuban people.
Oh – and by the way – nice angry child logic on Jay-Z’s part: well “politicians lie” – so whatever, I’ll do what I want. (Hmm, so is that why nobody stops at red lights anymore?)
Whether you agree or disagree with the law as it stands is quite irrelevant. It is the law. The way to get a law changed is by being vocal and lobbying against it…not seemingly breaking it and flaunting it. America may have a broken system of democracy, but it’s still a democracy. Besides, this issue is too trivial to merit the whole civil-disobedience treatment.
I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with the law surrounding US travel sanctions relating to Cuba. Frankly, there’s an argument to be made that once the floodgates are opened to American tourism, it will not only destroy the simple beauties that make Cuba attractive to tourists, but also cause greater economic and social disparities within the country itself.
Bottom line: this is all about our social conscience. Living in a civilized, egalitarian society means we are all equally accountable for our actions. We don’t get to circumvent the law – or not be held accountable to ensure we followed it – because of how “important” we are.
– Erin Drushel