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Entertainment behind the scenes

Whoopi Goldberg, Leo DiCaprio and friends stump for voters

October 29, 2008

(Reporting and writing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Bob Tourtellotte)

The list of celebrities encouraging U.S. citizens to get out and vote in the presidential election on Nov. 4 continues to grow and in novel ways.

As he did earlier this month, Leonardo DiCaprio has rounded up many of his friends, including Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Steven Spielberg, to encourage people not to vote. That’s right, not to vote.” Of course, midway through the video the conversation steers toward the negative ramifications of not voting and the tone changes to getting out the vote. People can check it out here:

Elsewhere, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Williams and Ana Ortiz are telling voters that when they do vote, they need to have a phone number handy in case they encounter problems — 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). Or, go to their site

They have some new non-partisan videos, too, including the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro. Those can be found today at:

These actors are working in conjunction with a group called Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which was formed to help voters on election day. Comcast Entertainment Group airs the PSA on its cable channels E! and Style.

The group will have thousands of lawyers and law students working phone lines on election day, to take calls from voters who might encounter problems at the polls. They will deal with questions such as voters whose names do not appear on registration rolls and polling places with long lines.

And problems do arise. Who can forget the complaints and questionable voting in several important states in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.


Good for her! However, this business of Whoopi Goldberg getting out the vote brought something immediately to my mind.

Likewise, Colin Powell’s 2003 exhibition at the U.N. about nonexistent Iraqi WMD, and his 2008 swing to Barack Obama because (as he says) the republican party (his party) has swung “too far to the right”.

After all, Powell couldn’t help but to have known that the republican party was right-wing when he joined it during the Reagan administration…while a 3-star army general. For all his third-rate acting and grandfatherly ways, Reagan was so far right as to be instantly recognizable as such…once the surface was scratched even just a bit.

That something that keeps coming to my mind is racism…right-wing racism.

I have felt the sting of uninformed racism in my lifetime…as well as that of calculated racism. Which is the most damaging type? I think both are equally damaging. Which is the evil one? Well…that is a no brainer. The evil racist is the calculating one.

It is the calculating racist who preys upon the ignorance and fear of the uninformed racist. The evil racist is in the minority to be sure. However, he or she aims propaganda at the far greater number of ignorant racists. I don’t sympathize with the fearful racist, but I do recognize the difference between evil and fear.

The scary thing for a diverse America is that one can be a racist and vote for polarization. By that I mean that a racist generally votes based on race and little else…unless it is fear, i.e., fear of minorities. Yes. Of course, I’m talking about the white racist.

I remember when first Ronald Reagan, and then George H.W. Bush and after that George W. Bush used Colin Powell’s blackness to their political advantage. I remarked at that time that Powell would have to one day choose between his race and his political party, i.e., decide if he is black or a republican. He’s got himself persuaded that he hasn’t done that yet…you know…not in that exact sense. I suspect that he is in denial about republican racism.

What surprised me was that National Security Advisor/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Secretary of State Powell let his blackness be used at all. How could an intelligent chap such as he is not know his race was being used by the “purest” political party in America. After all, it was Reagan who subtly recruited Southern white racist democrats into the republican party in 1980, e.g., Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms et al. That’s how Reagan took the south away from President Jimmy Carter, a publicly avowed Southern white antiracist.

The bottom line to all of this is simply that when I see a black person call themselves a conservative…or stand up for John McCain or Sarah Palin [who espouse calculating & polarizing (albeit Reagan-like subtle) white racism]…I see their blackness being used. “Don’t they see what I see?” I always ask myself.

I’ve seen smart folks such as Michelle Bernard speak up on behalf of Palin. “Why?” I ask myself again. Maybe I’ll figure it out someday. I don’t know.

OK Jack


I’ve been hoping for the day color of skin and gender would have no more relevance than color of eyes and hair, for jobs, right up to president. We’re doing pretty good. We’ve come a long way, since we sang our hopes of equality and peace on college campuses and in the streets. This ol’ hippie is proud of us.

Posted by Sharon | Report as abusive

do the average american really care about the opinions of hollywood?do they expect because the word celebrity is shouted at them buy the media that the minions are going to be wonderfully impressed?certainly not. what percentage of them have successful private lives. behind the drugs and broken marriages what gives them audacity to think ordinary people are going to take any notice.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

maybe whoopi, instead of playing the politically correct game could explain to me why her race is 12% of the population responsible for 85% of the crime in this country?


Poverty is the root cause of crime. With Republicans ruling
most of the time ,why are some segments of the people still
in poverty line. This is one reason for a change.

Posted by phil | Report as abusive

I don’t need a celebrity to tell me to vote, I’ve always voted. This just shows the elitist are depending on the actors and entertainers to win the election for them.

Posted by Ms.k7225 | Report as abusive

I have always considered the so-called celebs as the most degenerate and self-proclaimed important group of people.
I have never attached any importance to what they say as they are nothing but a bunch of druggies, drunkards, adulterous and really, good for nothing. I have not paid to see a movie in more than 10 years and do not intend to do so for a long while.
So, what Whoopie et al do should have no impact/effect on anybody. As they say, don’t flatter yourself, you’re not important.

Posted by Veridico | Report as abusive

One question for you, OK Jack. Do you feel the same way when you see white people speak up for Obama, as Pres. Clinton did this morning, and many other before?

Posted by Veridico | Report as abusive

1. Celebrities, like everyone, have a right to speak their mind. If they are encouraging people to vote, so be it; I say that to people, too: “your vote is your voice, use it!” Big deal that celebrities are speaking up; this is America, folks!
2. Poverty = crime? What? Being self-empolyed in real estate, I now earn zero income and am technically in the “poverty” bracket. I have never committed a crime. Money and crime are connected by those who commit crimes because of their cyclical mindset about money and crime. Talking about crimes, how about all the presidents who have ordered the bombing of other countries? How about ALL the presidents, perhaps except Jimmy Carter, who have engaged in highly wrong activities? Killing others, even in war, is criminal. Environmentally, how about Nestle, Coke and Pepsi destroying the environments, particularly of “Third World” countries, for water? Criminal. Corporately, how about the executives at Enron? How about the Exxon Valdez oil spill? How about mountain top removal by corporations for coal? Crime! How about slavery? How about the massacre of Native Americans? The list goes on indefinitely. Money only equals crime when people think money leads to crime or think that people should be punished if they 1) have money, or 2) don’t have money. Cyclical!

I live in a neighborhood that was full of people engaged in crime and drug-dealing 24/7; all of these people have low opinions of themselves and therefore engage in drugs and crime. Cyclical! The parents let their “adult” sons (mamas boys) walk all over the parents and then both complain about “the man” who is the cause of their problems! Please! One way to change your life is to: 1) stop blaming others, and, 2) get out and vote!


Posted by good day | Report as abusive

what is so scary these days is ENTITLEMENT.people think that if they are down on there luck it,s nothing to do with them,the fact that they dropped out of school and hung out,or listerned to the black leaders who fill them full of negativity has nothing to do with it.ia,m a white, blue collar guy and when i see a black guy driving passed me on the freeway driving a merc it blesses me.i say that he. is either smarter than me or works harder than thats, the attitude.if there is any young black guys out their who are having a tough time yes it,s difficult but hand outs are not the answer,this is a great country i know ,i have been around.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I find interesting that those who de-cry celebrity endorsements or promoting the “get out and vote” to US Citizens yet billions of dollars are spent by citizen buying the tabloids and watching tabloid television…it is not secret that there is a celebrity obsession…so why not have celebrities have a say…they are citizens too! Also, lest you forget that Ronald Regan and Arnold Schwarzenegger are former actors/celebrities wouldn’t you say…hmmm…interesting double standard!
the bottom line is GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

Posted by Deborah | Report as abusive

It is simple as A B C . Whoopi, Mat Damon et al as citizens of the land have a right to campaign, endorse, exhort, any citizen to vote for whoever and so do you…remember it is a job they do, albeit in the eyes of the public, and not going to the movies for ten years would not make a difference. I guess you would not buy a six pack of Budweiser either, as Cindy Mc Cain, the Republican celebrity is encouraging you to go and vote……..So if you not sure of what you are talking about…..then Shoosh, Just get out and VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN 08.

Posted by Deborah | Report as abusive

yes deborah you make a point, a recent poll asked who do people thought should be nominated as a possible candidate for the presidency and the result was an endorsement for harrison ford the rational was he played a good president in the movies and that impressed my opinion exceptional leaders are born occasionally, and sadly whether you or me like it or not,obabma seems to be like lots of other politicians his redeeming feature is the ability to hold his finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.carry on” feeding the fools obama”

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

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