/ From the Executive Director
To Endorse or Not To
From the Executive Director:
A few years ago I attended
a fundraiser for Senator Patrick Leahy. EnlightenTheVote.com
was then called the GAMPAC and Peter Nuhn and I took
our GAMPAC donation check to the Washington DC event.
I spoke briefly with the Senator, and we took a photo
and then Peter and I left.
A week later our donation
check was returned to us. That was a shock to me. I
didn't think that would ever happen to us, but it did.
The senator didn't want people knowing about our donation,
and that an Atheist pac was supporting him.
Are we really that poisonous
to politicians? Are we really that powerful, even if
in a negative way?
What should we do if
a politician asks us NOT to endorse him/her at our site?
Can we be an effective political action committee if
those politicians who we want to support, don't want
In 2002, we launched
our pac with a press conference at the National Press
Club in Washington DC, and a reporter asked me what
we would do if a politician did not want our endorsement?
I told the reporter that if the politician didn't want
our endorsement then the politician would not get our
votes or money. If we cannot endorse a candidate then
we cannot drive votes and money their way.
It's not that some politicians
don't want our support - it's more that
they don't want the backlash from the religious. The
religious are a better-organized and better-funded political
machine than we are and that is what most politicians
respond to. If we were better organized than the religious
then politicians would be actively pursuing our support.
If we put a lot of money behind the candidates who we
support, and if we work to elect them, then we will
become the voting bloc that candidates will listen to.
So back to my original
question. To support or not to support - that is the
question. The answer is that we should support as long
as we can make it beneficial to candidates and we can
do that if you vote for the candidates we endorse and
if you contribute to EnlightenTheVote.com. Our endorsement
should benefit candidates. When you contribute to Enlightenthevote.com
we donate to candidates' campaigns and they know that
enlightened Americans are organized to support them.
It is also important
to donate your time to work on the campaigns of these
candidates. This is what the religious do. In fact,
there isn't anything the religious won't do to get their
candidates elected to office.
Without your donations
to Enlightenthevote.com and your work for the campaigns
we support, some politicians may continue to be wary
of our endorsement.
Atheists and other secular
Americans are going political and we are going to be
We are gearing up for
the 2010 elections now. With your support we will elect
politicians who support the separation of state and
church and the noble words of the Establishment Clause,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishement
of religion." Please donate to Enlightenthevote.com
today. Please tell your friends about EV and help by
spreading the word. Let's not regret another election
Ellen Johnson, Executive Director EnlightenTheVote.com