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STAFF, [email protected]

All eyes were on Lady Gaga this Sunday as she took the stage after a Super Bowl first half dominated by the Falcons.

Though few were expecting a political manifesto from the singer, the absence of any direct political message was disheartening.

Gaga, with her passionate LGBTQ fanbase, opened her set with “God Bless America” and a quick rendition of folk singer Woody Guthrie’s populist anthem “This Land is Your Land” before moving on to her hit “Born This Way” — which does contain references to gay and trans people — but oblique references on the world’s biggest stage feel wasted.

Her 2016 Oscars performance of “Til It Happens to You,” a song written for campus rape documentary “The Hunting Ground,” was a powerful statement calling attention to American rape culture. The fact that this recent performance -— in front of an audience many times larger than that of the Oscars — was largely apolitical is baffling, especially considering our President has admitted to regularly committing what the law and newly-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions defines as sexaul assault.

The opposition to President Donald Trump should not — and cannot — be led by celebrities. That said, we know that President Trump is hypersensitive to criticism from mass media, be it Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech admonishing bigotry or Alec Baldwin’s terrible but apparently effective impersonation of the Commander-in-Chief himself. The more time President Trump spends lashing out at celebrities on Twitter, the less time he has to sign catastrophic executive orders. It may be a silly strategy, but we’re living in a silly time.

Gaga wouldn’t have been breaking ground, either.

Just last year, Beyoncé walked on the field with a phalanx of women, all styled as Black Panthers, a massive statement to a country which has just begun to reckon with the issue of police brutality. Conservative media had a collective meltdown, and this was without a white supremacist in the White House.

Gaga, faced with a fresh administration chock-full of misogynists and homophobes, chose a message so subtle that it went over the heads of most viewers, including Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s former organization Breitbart News, which cited her use of red, white and blue drones as the performance’s most political element. If the most easily outraged of your opponents cannot detect your protest, it is not an effective protest.

Though many of the celebrity messaging during the election season was tone deaf, it’s far from impossible to convey a political statement that is humanist without being preachy.

As stated earlier, celebrities should not be in the driver’s seat when it comes to resistance. But given one of the largest stages, there is a civic responsibility to amplify certain messages. Lady Gaga had the world’s ear, and said nothing.