Monday, May 21, 2018

How much do celebrity stances, endorsements influence political issues?

I always wonder how much the so-called famous amongst us think we really care about what they think of our “local” issues.
Would the youthful Mick have cared about ERA?

Are they so self-absorbed that they believe we’re going to be swayed by their official pronouncements? Or are there those of us who really will consider taking a stance just because of what an entertainer thinks?

TAKE MICK JAGGER, the aging rocker whose band ripped its name off an old Muddy Waters tune and whose early records included a riff on Chuck Berry with “Around and Around.”

Mick, that aging rocker who still has the big ol’ lips that became the Rolling Stones’ logo, of sorts, wrote a brief letter that his daughter, Elizabeth, distributed through Instagram.

His issue of concern is the Equal Rights Amendment, where there are some political people of Illinois behaving in ways as though the issue is a still-pending one, rather than one whose time expired some 36 years ago.

Mick isn't the first Jagger to try to sway Ill.
For the record, the man whose band gave us the drug-tinged song “Mother’s Little Helper” is for the ERA. In his brief letter, Mick wrote that three of his daughters, including Elizabeth, are U.S. citizens.

“THEY SHOULD ALL deserve equal rights under the Constitution of the United States,” Jagger wrote.

Which struck me as an interesting line of logic in that many of the conservative ideologues who often rant against the ERA acknowledge that same basic concept.

They argue that it is so obvious that women already have equal protection under U.S. law that they don’t want to have to add a constitutional amendment. They go so far as to say it is insulting to women to have to specify they’re equal.

Bianca fought for Garcia, who's still alive in '18
Of course, those ideologues often behave in ways that show their actions are not the same as their thoughts, which is why others believe the ERA – with its simple, declarative statement that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”

JAGGER’S LETTER HAS been brought to the attention of the Illinois House of Representatives, whose members are contemplating the ERA – the same legislative body who back in 1982 failed to approve the measure, and that failure is oft regarded as the death blow for the amendment’s ability to be ratified by three-quarters of the nation’s legislators.

Will Mick Jagger really be able to sway the way our political people think?

Or will his involvement (as minor as it truly is) become the matter that offends ERA critics to the point where their opposition is stepped up to a new intensity.

Will the man who gave us “Paint it Black” or “Sympathy for the Devil” have any impact on the Illinois ERA battle, where state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said he hopes to have a vote take place before month’s end – which also would be the end of the ’18 spring legislative session?

IT AMUSES ME in part because I remember a moment from a couple of decades ago when one of Jagger’s ex-wives, Bianca, had her own little activist moment in Illinois.

How many Stones fans also wore these pins?
She actually made the journey to the Statehouse in Springfield to try to sway state officials about capital punishment. Specifically, as to the pending execution of Guinevere Garcia – a woman who killed her husband after being released from prison for another crime she was convicted of.

That 1996 execution ultimately was commuted by then-Gov. Jim Edgar, although I remember some people were bothered by the presence of Amnesty International and Bianca Jagger. As though that would have been reason enough to let Garcia die.

Will Mick’s involvement get the anti-ERA types equally riled up? Or are there others star-gazed enough to wish that the soon-to-be 75 Jagger, himself, could make the sojourn to Springfield.


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