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Archive for Monday, August 23, 2004

Private views

It’s refreshing to see one notable actor who feels no need to try to influence others by sharing his personal choice in the presidential race.

August 23, 2004

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Much has been said and written recently about people in fields such as sports and entertainment using their celebrity status to stump for political candidates. Drawing the heaviest fire have been entertainers and actors who take part in glitzy fund-raisers or use portions of their "shows" to favor one office-seeker and perhaps trash another.

All of us have a right to express our feelings and beliefs as long as they are not criminal or inflammatory, and these high-profile activists have done nothing wrong. Some do, however, seem to take unfair advantage of their status, so it is welcome news that others choose to make their political choices a private matter. One of these is actor Tom Cruise.

Cruise says he fully respects the right of entertainers to participate in political campaigning but that his vote in the upcoming presidential election will remain private. During a news conference designed to promote his latest film, the 42-year-old Cruise was asked if he would vote Democratic or Republican in November. His response:

"Politics is something that is very personal to me. I am not going to comment publicly (about) who I'm going to vote for. ... I don't want what I say to become a political football."

What about other performers lobbying for a candidate? "It's their right to do that and I respect that," said Cruise, "but ... I encourage people to go out and study the issues, get beyond the propaganda."

The popular actor never has been one to shrink from humanitarian causes and has helped raise thousands of dollars for various efforts. He's not shy about speaking out on many social, medical and economic issues. He just considers his vote private property.

He chuckles in noting that he has doubts that endorsements from the sports or entertainment fields accomplish much "other than to gain attention for the person who is speaking out."

"I doubt many people decide their vote on something like that," he said.

As for Cruise, he feels no need to seek more attention to his presence and his artistry. It is refreshing to see someone so secure he considers his political preference a private matter.

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