The Government Shutdown According to Katy Perry


In January 2013 I wrote a piece titled The Government According to Taylor Swift which referenced various Taylor Swift songs in order to point out certain idiocies within the Federal Government. At the time I joked that while the public speculated her songs as being inspired by past relationships, Swift was actually a political prophet.

Sound silly? You’re probably right. To think that a pop singer like Taylor Swift cares at all about government overreach is probably just naïve on my part. But Katy Perry on the other hand; she rages against the machine. As she began to write her new album (due October 22nd) some might say that she was only interested in maintaining her pop celebrity status; writing dance hits for 15-year-old girls and creating eye candy for the rest of us. But I tend to disagree.

Yes beneath the layers of eyeliner, synthesizers, heavy bass and brassieres lies a political mind which saw the partial shutdown of government on the horizon long before the political factions on Capitol Hill came to a head.

As with the Taylor Swift piece, please accept this article with the humor in which it is intended. Let’s start with her album title.


That’s right. I said Prism. Were she just some quirky brunette who gallivants the globe in lingerie comparing young girls to fireworks would she have named her album after one of the most important stories to break in 2013? I think not. Rather she chose to name her upcoming album after the mass electronic data collection program that the NSA didn’t want us to know about. And, had it not been for the now famed whistle blower Edward Snowden, they would have had their way. Snowden’s revelation by way of The Guardian and subsequent leaks by Glenn Greenwald and other journalists have since caused the following chain of events to divide the United States Congress. To prove that Katy Perry had correctly deciphered the tea leaves, take a look at some of her album’s upcoming tracks.


This was Perry’s first single off of Prism. It likely refers to the reaction of the American public in the wake of Edward Snowden’s lesson in transparency. On both sides of the aisle a panicked electorate scoffed and riled at the thought of their privacy being shriveled to fiction within a matter a moments. It was weeks before the roar of the people (as well as the media) began to silence, and even then it only silenced to prepare for action.

Legendary Lovers

As recent as 2012 libertarians have been written off as fringe or extreme within the political conversation. The American people seemed to have a love affair with their government, or at least what they thought their government was.

Former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has often been treated as a sort of Moses to the libertarian movement; creating room in the national conversation for libertarian principles and fighting against the establishment with hopes of freeing hearts and minds. In 2008 Ron Paul was supported by John Mayer. John Mayer is currently Katy Perry’s boyfriend. In the following clip you can see Mayer arguing with actor Justin Long in defense of Ron Paul and the U.S. Constitution:

Though he was obviously drunk in the clip, if Mayer has continued to carry political beliefs such as he did in 2008, he has probably spoken with Perry at length about those beliefs during the course of their relationship. As her political knowledge has grown it is likely that she has seen the fate of these Legendary Lovers, the United States government and the people of the United States of America, growing further apart.


On October 13th (with about one week left until the release of Perry’s album Prism) the White House will celebrate its 221st birthday. When the first cornerstone was laid in 1792 our forefathers were grateful for the battles which had been won, and weary of how well the ideas that they had sacrificed everything for would be preserved. This was just four years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution; a document that is still at the heart of the American political conversation (for better or worse).

Walking On Air

Perry often writes about sleeping, dreaming, and waking up (as well as the dreams that accompany this process). On her first record One of the Boys she made noise by Waking Up in Vegas and daydreamed about another man in her song Thinking of You. Her second album Teenage Dream and the accompanying single of the same name catapulted her to the top of the charts and showed the world of pop music that she was going to be a permanent fixture. But beyond that Perry’s new album introduces the song Walking on Air.

Though not at all an exact science, dream interpreters will tell you that dreaming about walking on air could be an indication that you are upbeat and carefree, with a feeling of invincibility. In regards to the government the words “Too Big to Fail” immediately come to mind.

Until recently the United States government has carried itself with an aura of invincibility, but only in recent years have the American people become increasingly vocal about their disenchantment. In recent months as stories regarding Benghazi, the NSA surveillance programs, and the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups applying for non-profit status have broken, the people have become louder; angered and putting the government on notice that they will not be walking on air for much longer.

Dark Horse: This song title could refer to any number of the Tea Party / libertarian members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. When the House and the Senate refused to agree on budgeting terms including the President’s controversial health care law, a government shutdown was implemented (of course I use that term loosely). Prior to the shutdown some of the most prominent defenders of the pro-liberty / limited government coalition, were also some of the loudest voices in congress.

Those voices have included Justin Amash, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Thomas Massie, and even Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz himself could even be the dark horse that Katy Perry refers to as just days before the much hyped government shutdown Cruz spoke up against Obamacare for 21 hours straight on the Senate floor; a stunt which took him from a still relatively unknown politician (nationally), to somewhat of a hero in Tea Party and libertarian circles.

Choose Your Battles

The GOP seems to have done just that. During the 2012 Presidential campaign, and even during the Tea Party explosion in 2010 Barack Obama’s healthcare law has been a serious point of contention for the GOP. Different members of the party have taken different issues with the law, but if choosing your battles wisely is conventional wisdom, Perry may have been foreshadowing that healthcare is the Republicans’ chosen battle; or warning them that it will be their hill to die on.

International Smile

The Telegraph recently posted the following article:

In the article China warns the U.S. to cease political charades and public infighting for the sake of the world economy. Clearly the fight to preserve Constitutional government versus those who support larger government initiatives is bothering the international community; causing them panic and risking the loss of the international smile toward the U.S. that Katy Perry may be referring to here.

It Takes Two

And at the end of the day it does take two. For years Republicans and Democrats have compromised on a number of things in order to push other initiatives forward. These initiatives have been plagued by special interests rather than restrained by constitutional limitations, and the conversation has now escalated at a time when the U.S. could be reaching a breaking point.


In conclusion, Perry, wise in her political predictions, could be lamenting the thought of what could happen if the government cannot respect the Constitution and the voices calling out for a more accountable and accessible representative government. For if they refuse to listen, the U.S. could eventually be nothing more than a ghost of the republic that it once was.

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Joe Ruiz

Joe Ruiz is a writer, political aficionado, pop culture enthusiast, pro-wrestling smark, MBA graduate, former US Congressional candidate, ukulele tinkerer, Puerto Rican / American, Freemason, marketing guy, podcaster, and family man. He currently hosts The CAP (Culture & Arts Podcast) and is the Managing Editor at We Are Libertarians.

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