Also co-authored by Jason Mraz, Ian Somerhalder, Graham Nash, Lisa Ling, Olivia Munn, Joely Fisher, Rosanna Arquette, James Valentine ("Maroon 5"), Brenda Strong, Frances Fisher and Noah Wyle
We humbly ask our fans to not watch our TV shows or movies, or listen to our music tonight. We ask you, instead, to invest 90 minutes in our country, and watch the first debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.
The differences between these two men and the Republican and Democratic party policies in 2012 are enormous.
Never before has there been this kind of opportunity for Americans to choose such vastly different philosophies, priorities, values and direction for our country. We, truly, get to Choose our America on November 6.
And, it is really easy. This year, you don't have to be a political "junkie" and watch CNN, Fox, MSNBC or C-Span all day, every day to understand the choice. Just 90 minutes tonight is likely to give you a pretty good idea about which candidate, and which party, sounds and feels right for you.
An astonishing 98.6 million adult Americans did not vote in the 2008 presidential election. Over 145 million sat out the 2010 congressional elections. As the world's leading Democracy and one that is the symbol of hope to those around the world who have yet to have free elections, we must do better. Our goal here is to help encourage the tens of millions who will waive this treasured democratic right because you may believe a) your one vote is not important, b) that politics is a bunch of overwhelming nonsense, c) that there is no meaningful difference between the candidates, or d) you may be disgusted that the parties fight all the time and "can't agree on anything". Or, very likely, e) all of the above.
There is a reason that there is so much fighting, and so much gridlock these days. It is because the parties - genuinely - have two almost completely different visions of America. The great news here is that you can end the fighting and the gridlock. Choose a) a president, b) 218+ members of The House of Representatives and c) a filibuster-proof majority of 60+ Senators from the party that most shares your views on November 6, (279 or so Republicans OR 279 or so Democrats), and we change America in one day.
In one day we can move beyond partisanship and gridlock and create a mandate on either side of a ton of super important issues, such as . . .
1. Whether large corporations and others will identify themselves and disclose the contributions to campaigns that buy the billions of dollars of television, radio and online ads we now see. One party supports this kind of disclosure and the other does not.
2. Whether America's wealthiest individuals will be asked to move closer to the tax rates under Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Bill Clinton or whether taxes and government will be reduced for all in an effort to encourage spending and economic growth in that way. Just a few votes in Congress will make the difference on this issue.
3. What America does about the issue of abortion and the government funding of this procedure. This issue is facing many challenges in the Supreme Court and our next President may be asked to choose the next Justice (or Justices) who could change the Court's majority for decades to come.
4. What steps will be taken to address the millions of "undocumented immigrants"/"illegal aliens" that grew up, went to school and/or live and work in our country. The two candidates and parties have very different views on this and how to secure and protect our borders.
5. How America will reduce its deficit and its debt, critical to the survival of our nation, and create jobs. One party hopes to achieve this by cutting taxes, regulations and government investment -- wanting to make government smaller and rely more on the success of individuals and businesses to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The other party believes that raising taxes on the top 1%, taxing corporations that outsource jobs, keeping defense spending in check and having government invest in education, alternative energy infrastructure, technology, arts and the like are the ways to reduce the debt, increase jobs and rebuild the American economy.
6. We get to decide who runs the Legislative Branch of the federal government . . . whether John Boehner and the Republican policies or Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic policies control The House of Representatives and all the committees, and whether Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and the Democrats or Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and the Republicans control the Senate and all their committees. And, this is worth repeating, we get to decide whether it is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama who chooses the next Supreme Court Justices and the rest of the federal judiciary - all of whom serve life terms.
8. We get to decide so many issues. Should the EPA be allowed to regulate carbon emissions or environmental toxins, or be limited or even dismantled? Will our investment dollars in energy go primarily to drilling, mining and fracking for oil, coal and gas or go increasingly to the development of solar, wind and other alternative energies? Will we prohibit the purchase of assault weapons? Will we allow homosexuals to legally marry? Will we repeal "Obamacare" or build upon it? Will we subsidize oil companies, privatize our social safety nets like Social Security and Medicare, increase our defense and military spending, reform the tort system, acknowledge and address man-made climate change, shift the role that money plays in our federal elections and the way we conduct future elections . . . the questions, the issues and the differences go on and on.
This is a truly historic moment. An historic chance for us to choose.
So don't watch our shows, our movies or listen to our music - or anyone else's tonight. In fact, tonight we challenge you to even turn away from your favorite source of news and opinion as well as the billions of dollars of negative campaign ads that attempt to scare and manipulate you. You are hiring one of these men, and their parties, to run our country for the next 4 years. So, be an "Employer", a "Citizen" and a "Patriot" and invest a few minutes to watch them tonight and experience the differences for yourself. And then, make your own decision.
And, yes, YOUR vote DOES count! The 2000 presidential election was officially won by the votes of 537 men and women in the state of Florida, out of over 300 million Americans, and congressional races are also sometimes decided by hundreds or a few thousand votes.
Don't sit this election out. Go to www.RockTheVote.com, www.VotoLatino.com, www.NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org or any other site that will help you get registered, now, before the deadline in your state.
As our beloved President Lincoln once claimed, this is a "government of the people, by the people and for the people". The politicians don't determine the direction of this country, we do, and November 6 is our day to exercise that power, the day to Choose OUR America.
9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern. Tonight. 90 minutes. We will be watching. Will you?
Many of the celebrities signing this letter are participating in the Choose YOUR America campaign, a nonpartisan educational effort created by Richard Greene to highlight and simplify the key differences between the candidates and the parties on the major issues of the 2012 election and increase voter engagement. Go to www.ChooseYOURAmerica.org to learn more.