Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just between us Virginians

Will.i.am, front man for the hip hop group Black Eyed Peas, has endorsed and is campaigning for Terry McAuliffe in the race to be Virginia's governor.

I don't think much of celebrity endorsements in general, but in presidential elections I tend to not say anything. After all, everyone is entitled to campaign for whoever they like. In this case, though, I'd prefer if we just left this among Virginians. Will.i.am is basically here for the weekend. It's like Paul McCartney coming over to endorse a candidate for president; he and the rest of the world may be interested, but we're the ones who do all the voting, so let us make up our own minds.

Now, Will.i.am is more than just an entertainer. He started the IAM organization, a fund setup to help teenagers who get accepted to colleges but cannot afford to pay tuition. He also helped campaign for Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates, so he's not exactly a stranger to the election scene.

He's not from Virginia, though. This is our contest, our election, and our governor. We have to make the decision, and we have to live with the result. Celebrities are still people, and they may actually be interested in who becomes governor; but they shouldn't be stumping for candidates for whom they cannot even vote. And yes, that applies to Republican "stars", too.

Politicians from other states, I feel, are a special case. I didn't mind so much, for example, when former President Clinton appeared alongside Terry McAuliffe. We're talking about the business of running a government, after all. A former chief executive's opinion is one that may actually mean something. We can most likely expect President Obama himself to visit the Commonwealth, once the Democrats in Virginia have settled on a candidate.

But how can you compare the word of a singer, with no governing or legislating experience, who's not even from Virginia or living here, to that of a president or former president?

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