Obama Inspires Celebrity Pledge to Be as Decent as the Rest of Us

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51kAw4OTlA0]

I’m just a little person, which means I’m not a celebrity. And yet everyday, I try to be a good mom, wife, writer and friend. For a year now, we’ve been recycling and I volunteer my time teaching Sunday school and working with the Boy Scouts. I don’t mention this to pat myself on the back, but to point out that this is just what my family and I do and we did it long before Obama was elected.

I’m fortunate enough to know many people who also share their gifts in many other ways and do the best they can for their families, their neighbors and communities. And they did these things before Obama was elected. Maybe I’m naïve, but I’d like to think that most of us live outside ourselves and do our small part

That’s why the four minute, 18 second “I Pledge” video really irks me.

It seems Obama’s election made Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore feel inspired to make a video with all their friends pledging to do things better now that there is a new President. That’s all well and good. I congratulate them for trying to turn over a new leaf. What makes me disgusted is the motivation behind this. They did this to inspire the rest of us to change. And what some of these celebrities pledge is laughable.

Some pledge to be better fathers and mothers. Really? You need a new President in the White House to inspire you to become a better parent? Don’t you have any self-motivation? One celebrity pledges to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t know how an actress is qualified to do that, but okay. Ashton Kutcher pledges to, “Always represent my country with pride, dignity and honesty.” Heaven knows too many celebrities have represented their country with disdain, disgust and criticism in the past.

A couple of celebrities I don’t know pledge to find out the names of their neighbors and Cameron Diaz pledges “to give my neighbor a smile.” Do celebrities really need to make a pledge to do something that is automatic for most people? I guess if you live on a massive estate behind gates, you wouldn’t know your neighbors or be compelled to smile at the bastards. The majority of us, however, don’t live that way so don’t lecture us on how we should relate to the people who live next door.

One thing that surprised me is I found out my father was an environmentalist long before it was cool. He used to say, “Turn off the GD lights when you’re not in the room. You think I’m made of money?” The eco-conscious P Diddy pledges to “turn the lights off because I used to leave them on, but now we need to conserve energy, so you turn them off, too.” Yes, sir, P Diddy. I’ll do exactly that. All because you’re doing it, not because most of us were raised that way.

The thing that made me laugh out loud was when the lady who plays Earl’s ex-wife on My Name is Earl actually pledges, “to help children understand that just because they come from a small place, doesn’t mean they can’t dream big.” What the hell is that about? C’mon people! Do we really need a celebrity to validate those of us who live in fly-over territory?

The egos behind this project are outrageously huge and they overestimate their influence on the population at large. Like most celebrity projects, this is something that makes celebrities feel good, gets their faces on a screen and yet will accomplish nothing.

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Comments

  1. Claudine says

    I have to disagree. What may be common sense (turning off the lights) or automatic (smiling at your neighbor) for you or me, is not necessarily obvious to every one. Not everyone was blessed with parents that taught them manners, fed them three times a day, helped them with their homework, gave a hoot about energy conservation, or encouraged them to DREAM BIG. Unfortunate but true.

    Also unfortunate about our society is the fact that many people look up to celebrities and will do exactly what Demi, Ashton, Diddy, and Cameron suggest. Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing?

    To me, this ad is less abut ego and more about empowering people. It may not convince you to be the change you want to see in the world, but it convinces me if we all do our part, our country will be a better place.

    • says

      I appreciate your perspective, Claudine. Your well-written comment proves that there are often at least two sides to every story. While I initially agreed with Lisa’s perspective, you have persuaded me to acknowledge a percentage of the population which I don’t identify with on this subject but are obviously out there.

      So even if I think the video promo is cheesy, which I most definitely do, I would hate to rob others of the opportunity to be influenced for the good.

      I feel compelled to also mention that I got a sort of “New Year’s Resolution” vibe from the promo, which I don’t think helps most people. I’m willing to be wrong about that. Regardless, I think celebrities can be a positive influence when they choose to be.

      Before I level final judgment on this video, I think I need to hear from a few people who are positively impacted by this video to act. Not just feel good, mind you, because even I felt the feel-good vibe from a well-produced video. I want to hear from some people who are motivated to act. Are you? If so, what are you going to do differently because of what these celebrities have said?

  2. says

    Great points, Claudine. I do agree with your statements and I feel it is unfortunate that society looks up to people who, because of their celebrity status, will get ears to listen to whatever they have to say.

    I would have much more respect if the people in this video, same statements and all, were regular people from all different parts. People who I can relate to means more to me than hearing it from celebrities.

  3. Lisa Pawlowski says

    Claudine, I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to have decent parents, but there are a lot of people without decent parents, even some who grew up without parents period, who still do the right things and don’t use their background as an excuse for bad behavior. It seems celebrities want to have it both ways. Some will respond to critism by parents, after getting caught using drugs, “I’m not some role model. You need to be your own kids’ role model.” And yet there are others who believe they have a responsibility to influence everyone. So which is it? I tend to agree drug-addled one.

  4. Claudine says

    Not only have I volunteered my entire life, I encourage my friends, family and peers to do so as well. I have always adopted the attitude that if EVERY AMERICAN chipped in, our country and the world could be a much better place. Isn’t that the point of the video ad?

    Sonny makes the point that he would have much more respoect if the video consisted of common people and not celebrities. Fact of the matter is MORE people will pay attention because there are celebrities in this commercial than if you, me, Sonny, and Daniel made the commercial. Again, unfortunate but true.

    The overall message is too important to see the negative aspect when the celebs are really trying to bring about a POSITIVE change.

    If you already wave to your neighbor every day and turn off your lights when you leave the room, than take it upon yourself to do something else to be the change you want to see. Volunteer with CASA (I do), be a Big Brother or Big Sister, donate to United Way, visit the elderly and shut-ins. There are hundreds of ways we can all make our country – OUR COMMUNITIES – a better place.

  5. Lisa Pawlowski says

    Ahh, I understand where you’re coming from now, Claudine. It takes a special kind of person to be a CASA volunteer. You have seen kids in gawdawful situations, kids who really don’t have any idea of what normalcy should be. That’s why people like you are so important.
    I don’t think kids need celebrities to show them what’s right or “normal”. If a child can’t look to a parent or grandparent for what’s right and wrong, he can look to you or a teacher or another relative.
    I found the whole video cloying. The celebrity’s intentions may have been good, and for some of them, it may have come from the right motivation. But I think the saccharine got in the way of what they were trying to accomplish and I can’t get past the whole big ego thing. But then again, I’m just cynical that way.

  6. Claudine says

    So we’ve established that I’m an optimist and you’re a cynic. In the end, does that even matter. I don’t think your main issue is the overdone nature of the video. I could agree that some of it is just plain sappy. I perceive your main issue to be the idea that EGO plays a large role in the video – or one’s decision to participate in the video.

    Many celebrities REALLY do volunteer on a REGULAR basis with organizations such as Big Brother/Big Sisters, America Reads, UNICEF, Autism Speaks, Save the Music, Habit for Humanity as well as other causes – breast cancer, ovarian cancer, illiteracy, Alzheimer’s, homelessness, and poverty.

    I suppose my question for you – setting the video aside and your clear dislike for celebrity assumed ego – besides shutting off your lights and waving to your neighbor, what do you do to pitch in and make your country a better place?

  7. Billy says

    Volunteer people – it’s the greatest way to help other and the feeling may help alleviate the stresses in your life. You’d be surprised how good it feels to give!

    Billy

    Do Good While you Search and Help Big Brothers and Big Sisters http://www.DoGreatGood.com

  8. says

    Do you know what my pledge is?

    My pledge is to support marriage as a Godly union between a man and a woman.

    My pledge is to support the reduction of the number of abortions and teen-age pregnancies.

    My pledge is to do better at serving the Lord.

    What is your pledge?

  9. says

    FINALLY! Someone with the moral standpoint. Thank you Kurt. The only thing I was disgusted by in this video was the fact that all the things I agreed with in this video were morally based. Smiling, kindness, volunteering, and genuinely caring about people. But no celebrity will admit that any of those things are God centered. Obama is taking God out of our country. These people are telling our country to be “servants” to Obama. I really hope lots of people see this video for what it really is. The ONLY One I will ever be a servant to is the Lord.

  10. Thomas Stabler says

    What is most interesting to me is that these principles that each one of these celebrities is referring to (with the exception of maybe stem cell research because of the origin of most stem cells being aborted fetuses) were American principles that were not brought on by Obama but were made known in the constitution the meaning of which Obama and his “servants” see fit to change. Obama made it from poverty to president under the very system he is trying to change. My question is “how is he going to change it?” If the answer is that he will make it easier to obtain then everyone will reach it and the healthy balance that has existed in this country to make it what it is will be lost. I ask you this, should a janitor make the same amount of money as the owner of the multibillion dollar company for which the janitor works. The answer is no. I am not belittling the janitor. He has a role in that multibillion company just as the owner does. How many of you have ever heard of janitors or the like becoming CEO’s. I know we all have. It truly depends on how much effort we put into it. The founding fathers stated that all men are created equal and are given certain rights by their creator and these rights included life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. They understood that there had to be a healthy balance and that our Creator (God) designed it that way. People all I want you to realize is that while republicans and democrats alike promise to fix your problems, understand that our founding fathers designed our country to be led by the people and that problems should be solved by the people as part of their pursuit of happiness and that the government was not the answer. These celebrities are correct that we should be the change but promising to serve a president who believes that government is the answer is completely contradictory to what they are pledging. People the presidency and congress were meant to serve WE the People not the other way around. We the People are the way to prosperity not big government republican or democrat. Let’s get back to the Constitution!

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