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Thursday, January 10, 2008

To Endorse or Not

I want to clarify that my words are just that - mine. I am not speaking on behalf of any organization that I am a member of nor am I speaking on behalf of my employer.

Our union recently has had discussions as to whether we should be endorsing a candidate for President at all. I will not get into the details of that discussion, but rather try and address the issue generically. As an individual, you decide that you support Vice-President Gore in the 2000 election because his positions and platform most closely align with yours. You also belong to a group of skateboarders. If elected, Vice-President Gore is in favor of lifting the ban on skateboarding. As a matter of fact, as a Senator from Tennessee, VP Gore introduced legislation to allow skateboarding through all public buildings. Unfortunately, he could not conjure up the support to get the legislation passed. However, he was the only individual who stepped out on that limb, even though he was in the minority opinion. Should your skateboarding club endorse him? What if Senators Boxer and Snowe were also candidates who currently serve in the Senate and support you today? Should that make a difference?

There are obviously two clear schools of thought. One is the conservative approach. We do not need to endorse Mr. Gore because there are other skater-friendly candidates out there and whichever one comes out on top, perhaps the skateboarers club will opt to endorse then with all of the other more liberal organizations. On the other hand, the skateboarders could take the lead, become a friend of Mr. Gore now and show that we appreciate what Mr. Gore has done for skateboarders everywhere. We gain a lot of respect for our courage and really lose nothing if he is not the nominee. We simply follow all of the other special interests to the winning candidate.

I am a firm believer in taking measured risks. By sitting on the fence, you are vanilla like everyone else. I remember a story of a school that took sponsorship money from Coca-Cola. (In today's society, some schools have to take money from corporate America to provide better tools for their students. Until this story broke, I wasn't aware of it). This school wanted to thank Coca-Cola for their money, so they asked all of the kids to come to school wearing these shiny new Coca-Cola t-shirts that the company had provided. One of the students thought this was garbage and refused. As a matter of fact, he showed up the following day wearing a new blue Pepsi shirt. The school suspended him for the day.

As a skateboarder, I make the decision to support Mr. Gore. I let it be known to other like minded skateboarders that we are having a virtual meeting to show our support of Mr. Gore. This has nothing to do with my club. It has everything to do with individuals showing support and gathering together in a group identified by their common interest for skate boarding.

Today, I have chosen to wear the Pepsi shirt. I realize I stand to be cast as a loose cannon and not a team player. At this juncture, that's a chance I have to take.

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