Public Debate and Celebrity Social Agendas

It’s pretty common knowledge that well-known celebrities often use their new-found fame and fortune to influence public policy and lend their names in support of worthy social causes. The drive to make a difference in the world around us can be a strong one and more often than not these actors should be commended for their humanitarian efforts.

What is a celebrity?

A famous person, dignitary, big name, personality, star, superstar, lion, notable, luminary, personage, big wig, big shot, big noise, big wheel, fame, renown, notability, popularity, reputation, honour, prominence, prestige, distinction, eminence, pre-eminence, glory, illustriousness, stardom.

-The Concise Oxford Thesaurus.

One Newmax article drove this point home…

In the 2002 election, guess who provided the fifth-largest source of dollars for federal candidates? It was none other than little old Hollywood. And as you might expect, 83 percent of the Tinseltown cash went to Democrats. So says the Center for Responsive Politics.

Why should the good citizens in this country care one way or another what hollywood starlets choose to do with their finances? It’s a free country right? They should be free to exercise that right.

Freedom of speech is a foundational principle, which forms the platform upon which this country was created. However, the rich and famous appear to have more access to mainstream media sources than the average Joe Blow and thus have a disproportionate voice in the political discourse.

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What good is free speech if no one hears what you are saying?

Ordinary citizens like you and I are forced to resort to online forums, blogs and websites in order for our voices to be heard. The politicians in Washington could care less what Sally Schmuck wants, they pander to the hollywood elite, clamouring for those big dollar campaign contributions.

Our fair and balanced media, always vying for a larger market share, provide limitless media access to the darlings they have helped to make into household names.

Lets look at a few “worthy causes”, which our beloved Gods and Goddesses espouse.

Bruce Willis – Foster Care

Dear old Bruce is one of my favorite actors. He has this to say on his website;

“Children need to be protected by interstate technology systems that can track placements, education, medical records and protect these children from predators traveling from state to state.”

Now who could argue with protecting children from predators? Certainly, not me. However, is technology really the answer? How will tracking fostercare placements along with a child’s medical records help? It doesn’t, it won’t, but it sounds good.

What Bruce fails to look at is why are there so many children in fostercare? How did they get there and where are these childrens parents? Children who are removed from their parents care suffer, no matter what type of supposed abuse they have suffered. Very few children in the foster care system today should have had their family dimantled but you won’t hear that from Bruce.

Rob Reiner – Parents Action for Children

In 1997, Reiner, his wife Michele Singer Reiner, and Ellen Gilbert formed the I Am Your Child Foundation and began a national public awareness and engagement campaign to communicate the importance of the prenatal period through the first three years of life. The campaign was launched with a White House conference on early brain development hosted by President Clinton and the First Lady, and an ABC prime-time special hosted by Tom Hanks, which Reiner co-produced, co-wrote, and directed.

I Am Your Child has produced educational materials on topics of interest to parents and caregivers of young children. The videos and brochures, in both English and Spanish, are hosted by such personalities as Jamie Lee Curtis, Maria Shriver, Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, LeVar Burton, Phylicia Rashad, Edward James Olmos, and Cristina Saralegui, as well as, Mel Brooks, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Billy Crystal, Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, Charlton Heston, Tracy Pollan, Roseanne Barr, and of course Rob Reiner.

The primary goal of this program seeks to influence parents to put their children in preschool. We must ask ourselves what purpose would this serve and who would benefit. If we believe Parents Action for Children, they tell us that the children and society at-large are the ones who would benefit. Au Contraire!

The growing body of research shows that children who are cared for by family members and maintain close family ties, especially in those early years, form stronger family attachments, are more secure individuals and preform better on tests. [Not really, I just threw that last one in there to see if you were still awake.]

Seriously though, further research has shown that any perceived gains made by a child who attends preschool, dissipates after only two years in the public classroom. In other words, after two years there was no differentiating the children who attended preschool and those who did not.

Star Power

Charities long ago discovered that a key secret to successfully marketing and fund-raising efforts lies with teaming up with the rich and famous. An entire industry has developed partnering non-profits with hollywood star power. These partnerships are duplicitous in their nature, often lending itself more to perception than to actual substance.

In the case of Rob Reiner, he not only lends his name and persona to the cause but has taken an active roll in misleading loving parents into participating in an experiment, which could have far reaching impact on society at large. Most disturbing is the fact that Reiner, in typical Wag the Dog fashion, uses half-truths, media smoke and mirror, combined with political muscle to achieve his goals.

There has been precious little public discussion over the direction Reiner is attempting to direct his current production. With ordinary citizens shut out of the arena of public debate, there is little hope parents will find out they have been sold a bill of goods, until it is much too late and the Hollywood dragon has devoured its prey.

In an attempt to force public discourse over the Reiner backed, Preschool-For-All initiative in California, Universal Preschool brain-child and creation of editor-in-chief Diane Flynn Keith, provides resonating proof of the fallacy behind the notion and logic that preschool enhances a childs cognitive, social, and emotional development.

In a recent attempt to break media silence from the opposition of Universal Preschool programs being authored in several states, including California, An Open Letter To Rob Reiner was published on and widely circulated. As of this publication date, no major media source has covered or dared to broach the topic. This well-written piece has yet to receive any response from Rob Reiner, to whom the letter was directed.

We must ask ourselves why is the opposition being squelched in the halls of public discussion? What are they afraid of? Perhaps, Rob Reiner doesn’t feel he owes the public an explanation for his actions?

Preschool-For-All programs will have far reaching impact on the children and families in this country, as such, it is imperitive that honest debate and public discussion of this topic takes place before these programs take root in our society, causing detrimental consequences for which we are not currently prepared to handle.

This author contends that children need, first and foremost, good solid families in which to learn and grow. Without a strong family base, nothing else matters.

The next time you hear your favorite movie star promoting their issue de jour ask yourself, “Why?” Is the celebrity communicating a firmly held belief or perhaps they are simply marketing themselves to the highest bidder? Are they presenting all the facts of the issue or are they holding back information that the public needs in order to make an informed decision on whether to support or reject that issue?

We’ve provided tools to assist you in your attempt to sort through the chaff.