Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Screen capture from finale of celebrity pledge video
In a new YouTube video produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, dozens of celebrities – television and movie actors, sports heroes, musicians and more – describe how they will pledge to “be the change” and “be a servant to our president.”
The video opens with a quote from President Truman, “They say that the job of the president is the loneliest job in the world,” something the celebrities plan to alleviate for Obama by pledging to pitch in through several causes.
Throughout the video, the celebrities pledge to support local food banks, to smile more, to be better parents, to work with the charity UNICEF, to “never give anyone the finger when I’m driving again,” to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s, to meet neighbors, to use less plastic, to plant 500 trees, to “be more green,” to turn the lights off and to “free 1 million people from slavery in the next five years,” among dozens of other pledges.
The purpose of all this pledging is summed up in the video’s grand finale.
Actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher begin the closing scene by saying, “I pledge to be a servant to our president and all mankind.”
Then, as the scene pans out, the other celebrities joint the chant: “Because together we can, together we are, and together we will be the change that we seek.”
By the end of the mass pledge, the camera has panned back to a mosaic of faces that morphs into a picture of Barack Obama’s face with the words, “Be the change.”
The video is posted below:
While many of the celebrity promises – such as drinking less bottled water or being a better mom – may seem innocuous, other pledges touch on controversial subjects.
Actress Alyssa Milano, for example, pledges “to be the voice for those that have no voice,” a concept claimed by many pro-life advocates.
Other celebrities touch on politicized issues like pledging to “advance stem cell research” or to “sell my obnoxious car and buy a hybrid.”
Black athlete Michael Strahan, for example, pledges “to consider myself an American, not an African American.”
And while several of the celebrities attempt to portray heartfelt emotion and others attempt to be funny in their pledges, tattooed celebrity Anthony Kiedis of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers may have been going for the shock effect.
“I pledge allegiance to the funk, to the United Funk of Funkadelica,” says Kiedis. Later, while kissing his own biceps, he further declares, “I pledge to be of service [kiss] to Barack Obama [kiss].”
Near the end of the video, the celebrities took turns looking into the camera and challenging, “What’s your pledge?”
Not surprisingly, viewer reaction and comments on the video have been widely mixed.
One cynical poster responds, “Why did it take Obama to get elected for these Hollywood libs to pledge? Be a better father? Why did you wait so long?”
Several others responded that the celebrity pledges were “inspiring.”
One poster writes, “I pledge to not stop here, but to continue to engage the community in making my community, this state, this nation and this world a better, more beautiful place.”
Another contributor, however, while not criticizing the effort to volunteer or improve America, nonetheless took exception to the celebrities promising to serve President Obama.
“I pledge to keep treating the President of the United States of America as the public servant that he is supposed to be,” writes the contributor. “I pledge to attempt to correct anyone who thinks that we owe some allegiance to Barack Obama the man, rather than the country he is supposed to represent.”
The poster concluded, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic, for which it stands: one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”