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I don't care who Joe Buck supports for President. I just don't want to know. Thankfully, he's never shared his preference while describing plays of the World Series for Fox Sports, at least as far as I've ever heard. Likewise, I don't want to know the views of Robert Deniro on climate change, Susan Sarandon on economic policy or Sean Penn on immigration or national security. These people are skilled at entertaining, and I don't look to them to inform my views on anything else.

The same goes for Apple and its position on same-sex marriage. Yet the company has made it its position clear on Proposition 8, an initiative in Apple's home state of California seeking to bar same-sex couples from marrying.

On Oct. 24, 2009, the following statement appeared on the front page of Apple's Web site:

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

Companies should exercise great caution when publicly disclosing positions on social issues; the risk is great of alienating potential customers on the opposite side. It's one thing for Toyota to advertise that it uses environmentally friendly processes and materials to make its cars. It's quite another to say it efforts help fight "global warming," which many scientists believe is beyond human control.

Apple is a technology company and people look to it for great and innovative products, not for guidance in the voting booth. As actors and announcers should stick to those arts, computer companies should stick to their areas of expertise or risk losing credibility and followers.

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Last Post by Sobbing
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Over all I'd agree with you about companies and public figures getting involved in political issues, but I think think this is a little different. They're

A. trying to get a little good publicity out of a generous donation (which I see nothing wrong with).

B. Making a stand on Californias civil rights policies, which I feel is pretty reasonable considering they're a large California based company and a major cultural icon.

When Steve Jobs starts starring in corny commercials supporting bills and candidates I'll be annoyed, but if they want to make donations to a good cause and endorse it in a tasteful way... I'm all for it.

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Eddie,
Susan Sarandon is actually quite active in civil rights issues. In an interview with the Independent, she is quoted as saying:

“Sometimes I don’t even understand the ramifications of what I say; all I know is that I just can’t live with myself if I don’t say something. I’m aware that I’ve become some kind of joke in terms of my activism but it’s not something I can worry about..."

Sean Penn has spoken out vehemently about free speech issues and publicly called out the Bush administration on policies he disagreed with. He won the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award for his work on protection free speech.

What Apple is doing is in my view commendable. Companies have a right to speak out when they feel there is injustice, especially when it has a profound on affect on its own employees.

I've actually heard from people who are more likely to buy and use Apple products, so it cuts both ways.

But you're right that companies do need to be careful about how they go about this, but it can also work to a company's advantage to do what it considers the right thing.

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Coldplay was the musical guest last night on Saturday Night Live. At the end of their third song, lead singer Chris Martin revealed what I believe would be his preference in the U.S. presidential race, saying "Barack Obama." Maybe he should go on tour with the Dixie Chicks and Madonna.

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So what you're saying is you don't want companies, artists or anyone else to have an opinion, especially if it disagrees with yours. This is an election year. Lots of people on both sides of the issue consider it extremely important. The fact that some people such as Chris Martin express his opinion is hardly surprising. You don't have to like what they say, but you can't deny they have a right to say it.

BTW, Carly Firorina is an advisor to McCain. She's a widely known figure in the computer industry. Do you have a problem with her expressing her opinion, or is just people who support Obama and Prop 8 in CA?

Ron

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You've misunderstood me completely, Ron. What I am saying is that there's a time and a place for everything. And the time to share your political views is not when people are there to hear your music, see you accept an Oscar or call a baseball game.

When I want to hear political views, I seek a political forum. When someone wants to share their political views, I believe they should do the same.

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Well if I misunderstood you, I apologize, but at the same time, I'm not sure I agree with you. I think it's the right of the individual or company to decide how they want to approach politics.

As I say, I do agree that it can be a slippery slope and companies, like Apple have to be careful when doing this, but all companies engage in politics on some level, it's just that Apple's donation happened to be trumpeted. Where do you think the Political Action Committees get the millions of dollars they raise for candidates? Corporations in fact are fully engaged in the political process. Apple was just up front about it.

Ron

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I'm not sure we'll ever agree on this, but another thought occurred to me that might help you understand my position.

You mentioned Carly Fiorina, an advisor to McCain. While in my mind it's appropriate for her to stump for McCain on the campaign trail, it would be political suicide for her to do so in the HP board room. Time and place. Of course companies support politicians whose positions they agree with or that might help them prosper. Such companies (and PACs) are required by law to disclose those contributions truthfully. HOWEVER, those companies are NOT required to PROMOTE such contributions. They are free do do so, of course, but that puts them at risk of alienating some people.

That was my only point.

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I'm really getting sick of hear about individual attacks and boycotts about those contributed money to proposition 8 support. It's time to call for a Boycott of the companies that are supporting this kind of action. AT&T(>$250,000), Apple(>$100,000)! I still have not been able to find the exact amout of corporate giving. Why doesn't AT&T or Apple Support any Christian based organizations like Feed the Children or Summarians Pursue?

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