Sunday, December 9, 2007

Celebrity political endorsements

There’s been a lot in the news about Oprah Winfrey endorsing Barack Obama, and their packed-house appearance in Iowa, and one coming up in South Carolina. Barbra Streisand says she’s backing Hillary Clinton. It was recently announced that Sean Penn endorsed Dennis Kucinich. Do these kinds of endorsements mean anything to you – or should they?

They don’t for me. Just because these people have some celebrity doesn’t mean that they are any more politically savvy or knowledgeable about who is the right choice. Take the example of Sean Penn. Now really, who cares what Sean Penn thinks? Since I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area, I am very well informed about the career of Dennis Kucinich, and no endorsement would make me even remotely consider voting for him, much less Sean Penn's.

And while Oprah and Streisand are both very big names in the entertainment industry, I really have no knowledge of how politically informed they really are.

I like to think that I’m able to form my own opinions about the candidates, and my opinion is only the weak minded will be swayed by a celebrity endorsement.

For local elections, I am more swayed by endorsements of newspapers. This industry deals with political and national/world events on a daily basis, so they may have better sources on which they base their endorsement. Still, even a newspaper endorsement needs to be vetted by the voters themselves.

So for Oprah, since I don’t care for her show, she carries zero weight with me. And while I grew up on Barbra’s singing, I always felt her political leanings were too obvious to be objective. As for Sean Penn, I’ve never been impressed by his movies or his acting, so his endorsement falls on deaf ears. I don’t recall hearing any republican endorsements, but since all the republican candidates fall flat for me anyway, it wouldn’t matter if The Supreme Being endorsed any of them.

I will continue to read the papers, watch TV news, and check out the Internet to get my political knowledge. There are so many ways for voters to get information these days that everyone should take the time to research the candidates, rather than being swayed by a celebrity endorsement.

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