An endorsement, or rather more than 80 of them, with meaning

31 Jan 2008 12:13 pm
Posted by: Donna

By now we’re all aware of the numerous endorsements our 2 remaining candidates have racked up (with heartfelt condolences to Edwards’ supporters).    Political mucky-mucks such as Teddy Kennedy, Maxine Waters, our governor etc., have weighed in about whether Hillary or Barack has the stuff to lead our nation out of this dark period.   Celebrities like Oprah and Barbra have lent their names and star power to their favorite candidates as well. 

That’s all well and good and there’s much disagreement over how much these accolades affect voting behavior.  I shudder to think that there are actual people in this country to whom the presidential preferences of Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone matter .  But it is human nature to succumb to appeals to authority.  There is also the effect of an endorsement by someone like Kennedy of having access to his considerable resources and Rolodex.  With cultural phenomenon-maker Oprah, it’s her ability to draw thousands of possibly politically apathetic people to events and expose them to an inspiring candidate.   So yeah, the net effect of an endorsement by a prominent person is probably measurable.

There are some endorsements, however, that are noteworthy not because the people making them have powerful connections or are well known to the public.  These endorsements matter because they are coming from the people who are working in the trenches:  Organizations that help the poor, the forgotten, and the marginalized.  People who are champions of women’s rights, equality for LGBT citizens, the disabled, and against cruelty to animals.  Educated voters  give a lot of credence their opinions when making their decision, because they know these groups rigorously screen the voting records and ideologies of the candidates.  They’re not always perfect.  Sometimes they let their allegience to a favorite person override their responsibility to be impartial and honest  (I’m looking right at you, NOW) but, generally speaking, they do a good job of vetting candidates and letting their constituents know who will probably be a supporter of these causes and who probably won’t.   Sometimes these groups represent causes that are so misunderstood and demonized that it would be best for the candidate not to tout them, but their approval still speaks volumes to voters who really understand what is important.

I recently came across such an endorsement for Senator Obama.   There is a group of more than 80 attorneys who are doing the thankless task of representing people who are largely scorned by a misled American public.  They are not doing it because they like these people, nor because they are convinced of their innocence.  They’re certainly not doing it for the money or to advance their careers.  Most of them are working for free. 

They are the attorneys representing the terror suspects being held, without due process, at Guantanamo Bay. 

Most of the detainees have not been found guilty of any crime and many have not even been charged.  The attorneys issued a statement in support of Obama because he has come out proactively for restoring habeas corpus.  They probably also like the fact that he’s a Constitutional scholar.  I’m with them on that.  There has not been a time in recent history where having a Chief Executive with a thorough understanding of the documents which are the basis of our democracy and an understanding of the importance of separations and limitations on the powers of the 3 branches has been more important.  The detainees in Gitmo are admittedly not sympathetic figures, but people should be a hell of a lot more scared of a government that can whisk anyone away in the middle of the night and hold them indefinitely.  

I’m proud of Senator Obama for gaining the approval of these unsung heroes.  This is the kind of endorsement that matters to me and the one I hold up against any argument that Barack Obama has little to offer besides inspiring rhetoric. 


PS:  The rally yesterday RAWKED!   

1 Comment(s)

  1. Comment by The Mailman on February 2, 2008 3:52 pm

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