What motivates us to give to political campaigns? As a political donor, I often get asked this question and never have a good answer. You either do or don't think much about it.
I give money to political causes and charities I care about because I like to help those in need. I've got a pretty good life that I've worked hard to create and I'm able to share my good fortune knowing that I have more than I need and enjoy sharing with others. I don't like to talk about it most of the time, but when it might motivate others to join me and give, it's well worth the exposure.
So why did I agree to write about giving money away?
Because I just made the biggest political contribution of my life -- $1,000,000 to Priorities USA, the Super PAC working to help re-elect President Obama. Then a few of my friends started talking about it and telling others. I know that this is the kind of contribution that can get public attention, so I might as well offer in my own words why I did it.
I previously had made a significant contribution to support President Obama and I thought I was done. Then I imagined what it would be like to have President Romney nominating the next round of Supreme Court justices or waging another senseless war in the Middle East. He could put this country back on a downward spiral by gutting financial regulations and stripping away services that protect the middle class and help a poor boy growing up in Philly get a chance to build a great life and become a donor the way I did.
Call it giving back. Call it paying it forward. What I know is I'm 76 years old, I probably don't have too many big elections left in my lifetime, and I have no reason to hold back now. People I admire like Bill Maher and Morgan Freeman have given significantly so why shouldn't I? Whatever I might want to contribute in the future, the future is now -- and I refuse to sit this one out as some try to take us back with policies that will weaken the country I love and have
fought for all my life.
As a gay, man, I have lots of political issues that are personal when I look ahead to the November elections. One issue alone -- Gov. Romney's support for a federal marriage amendment -- is as insulting as it is harmful, most especially for gay and lesbian couples of my
generation. Romney will take us back to the 1950s. And yet, what motivated me wasn't just one issue. I knew that, if I held back now and failed to help re-elect President Obama, I would regret it for the rest of my life. The urgency of donating in future years will be wasted if we don't get President Obama re-elected this year.
Do I think that that $1,000,000 was wisely spent? Yes, I do. Do I want everyone to do what they can to help President Obama win? Yes, I do. Would I like others to do what I did -- especially those who have a lot more zeroes in their bank accounts than I do? Absolutely.
When I look at the direction this country could go after November, this was a no-brainer. Although an expensive one, it was well worth it.