Truth, Justice and the American Way

From my first acting job almost 30 years ago playing Billy in the cult classic film, Diner, to the voice of Superman, to Dr. Pete Wilder in Private Practice, the show I'm currently working on, I have learned a lot about my profession. I take my job seriously, and I think I have become much better at it over the years. By contrast, I'm troubled that in the upcoming election candidates across the country are trumpeting their lack of experience, falling all over themselves to be "outsiders," as if that alone qualifies them for leadership. Since when are people with an absolute deficiency of experience the people we want to be our leaders? Would you want to fly home for Thanksgiving with a pilot who had never been in a plane? Would you want your house remodeled by a carpenter who never picked up a hammer? Remember the old line, "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV"? Would you want me, Dr. Pete Wilder, to perform brain surgery on you? As a society, we value and demand experience in all professions, so why on earth would we bend over backward to find candidates with no experience to lead our nation?

As the country is still reeling from a horrible recession the Tea Party movement's angry cry to throw out the incumbents is misguided. These "play one on TV" candidates are ill equipped to lead the nation out of our economic decline. Even the candidates who might have business experience are not necessarily qualified to govern because their experience puts a premium exclusively on the "bottom line" and not on how policies affect people. To win they are trying to capitalize on the raw emotion that voters are feeling, and that emotion is anger. Yes, many Americans are understandably angry. But anger is not a policy. Anger is not an idea. Anger is not a solution.

Yet anger it is being used as a strategy. To capitalize on this anger, special-interest groups are pumping in millions of dollars to blanket the airwaves with more dreadful, negative TV ads than ever. It's just making people even more frustrated. These campaigns are mostly funded by anonymous corporate donors who are taking advantage of the recent Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, a decision I think is one of the worst in American history.

We need prudent public policies that continue to invest in our environment and in clean energy. We need to improve on public education, make college education attainable for more young people and insist on early childhood education. We need to keep fighting for civil rights and civil liberties. The corporate special interests know that many Americans don't vote in midterm elections, and they're hoping that if they keep pounding the hell out of the incumbents, you just might stay home. Please, you cannot afford to sit this one out. If they win, you lose.

As President Obama said in Wisconsin, you lose if we elect candidates who want to turn back the clock and repeal the historic health-care bill that will prevent insurance companies from denying people coverage or dropping them when they're sick. You lose if they enact the $700 billion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans that will further balloon the deficit. You lose if they eliminate 200,000 children from an early childhood education program as they promise to do. You lose when they slash financial aid for millions of college students and grant tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas. And you lose if they bring back the policies that allow the banks to take undue risks and raise your credit card rates without reason.

And you lose most of all... if you don't vote.

Superman fights for 'truth, justice, and the American way.' I may be the voice of Superman in cartoons but in real life I am an everyman and, like you, I can use my voice to fight for the very same things. Vote.