Barack Obama likes to fancy himself as the brave teller of hard truths to hostile audiences. Even when the truths aren’t so hard and the reception is not so hostile, as in his exaggerated tale of his tough love speech to Detroit auto makers, it fits nicely into his image of the Great Usher of New Politics.
And he is going to give us not just new politics, but new lifestyles. He recently told an audience, “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.” Well that got some laughs.
And the Obamas mean business, as Michelle Obama informed us:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
Well, it is time to put all this to the test. There is no group more susceptible to Obama’s vision and rhetoric than the Hollywood elite. And given their exalted status in our society, their influence on others if they take up the challenge to improve our country might be profound.
So in that spirit we offer a pledge, the Pledge We Can Believe In, which Obama can present to all of his Hollywood admirers. Indeed, he might inscribe the Pledge We Can Believe In on all financial donor forms and on all requests for tickets to his campaign events. The time for idle chatter is over and the fierce urgency of now demands that those who support Obama and his vision for a new America take the Pledge We Can Believe In:
1. I believe that “our planet is in peril” and that immediate action to halt global warming is essential. We must be able to say to our children “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” I therefore pledge that I will refrain from flying on private jets and sell any jets (or shares thereof) which I may own. First-class commercial air travel is a small price to pay for the survival of the planet.
2. For reasons discussed in #1, I pledge that I will not build, buy, or lease any residence in excess of 4,000 sq. feet (5,000 sq. feet in the case of a family of four or more). No reasonable person needs more room than that and there is no justification for consuming energy needed to maintain such an edifice to Western decadence.
3. I believe that we must repair our public schools, reestablish a commitment to a first-class public education for all, and break down social and economic barriers that divide our country into haves and have-nots. I therefore will withdraw my children from private school and immediately enroll them in the public schools in my neighborhood (i.e., any of the various neighborhoods in which I have a residence. See #2)
4. I agree that the children are our future and that no child should be punished with a child of their own or a sexually transmitted disease because of pre-marital sexual activity. Because I appreciate the enormous impact our culture has on our youth I pledge not to participate as an actor, writer, producer, crew member, or back-end participant in any movie, television production, or new media venture which glorifies teen sex and/or minimizes the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
5. I support Barack Obama’s commitment to fight for every job in Michigan and to refuse to accept that good jobs are never returning. I therefore will purchase and/or lease only domestically manufactured cars, SUVs, and other modes of transportation. Nothing herein shall permit me to own a private jet. See #1.
6. I believe that George W. Bush has ruined the American economy, set back the progress of the middle class, and thrown us into another Great Depression. To do my part to revive the American economy I will restrict all travel for pleasure to the United States. I therefore will give up any and all foreign travel for non-business purposes until unemployment is below 3% and the middle class ceases to be invisible. (I will indeed see many of them at Yosemite or Disney World.) In addition the Cannes Film Festival will be replaced by the Newark Film Festival.
7. George W. Bush has decimated the middle class and shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class and poor. I therefore will pay federal taxes at the marginal tax rate in effect at the time President Bill Clinton left office (39.6%).
8. I believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and that every American is entitled to affordable health care regardless of pre-existing illness or injury. Therefore, I will provide any and all individuals whom I employ in whatever capacity at any residence or business (or at my request by another employer) with comprehensive medical and dental insurance.
9. I believe in tough diplomacy and that America should never kowtow to petty dictators. Therefore I will affix my name to a petition to Raul Castro demanding that he free all political prisoners and hold free and democratic elections forthwith. I will not appear in or participate in any glowing biopic of him until he meets these conditions.
10. I believe we must give all American youth hope, hope for good jobs and hope for opportunities for advancement. To that end and to increase employment and internships for needy youth I will forgo placement of my own children, children of relatives and friends, and children of hangers-on in jobs and internships with companies I do business with.