James H. Burns comments: “I know that George Takei has been involved with politics for over 40 years (heck, I wrote about it for Starlog magazine a few times, decades ago!), but it was still a surprise to find this in my mailbox this morning, courtesy of Democracy For America…”
It’s an endorsement of Congressman Mike Honda’s re-election campaign and fundraising appeal from Star Trek’s George Takei that begins —
Our democracy is a people’s democracy, which makes it a double-edged sword — it can be as great as our people can be, but as fallible as them as well. That’s why I’m so glad that we have Congressman Mike Honda in Washington: he’s someone who always stands up for those who need it most, no matter how unpopular or politically risky the position is at the time.
Since his first day in office, Mike has been a passionate and outspoken ally for the LGBT community, fighting for the rights of our community long before the Democratic Party as a whole would take up our cause….
Burns wonders: “Ignoring ‘The Governator’ for the moment (and I wish I could dismiss the memory of Ah-nold’s disturbing ping-pong Super Bowl commercial!), is Takei the only science fiction-known actor trying to lend his name and thoughts to the national political arena?”
I know Joss Whedon, producer of many popular genre shows and movies, did a fundraising conference call for the Kerry campaign (Bay Area fan Alyson Abramowitz was the national chair).
I’ll bet File 770’s readers can think of even more examples.
Turning back to George Takei, I vividly remember his early forays into politics. He ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in 1973 and narrowly lost. Soon after, Mayor Bradley appointed him to the board of the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
One of Takei’s first responsibilities as an SCRTD board member was to attend a meeting of transportation officials in San Francisco at the St. Francis Hotel. That was on a day in July when the hotel coincidentally was hosting the 1973 Westercon. I was there in the lobby when Takei walked in on his way to the meeting. I saw him glance up, comprehend he was in the midst of a convention, turn around and walk right back out the door. I didn’t even have time to point him out as the air closed in on the space he’d occupied a moment before.
Babylon 5 actor Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi) hosts a conservative talk radio show and endorsed Ron Paul back in 2011.
Doctor Who actor Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates) has unsuccessfully run for a seat in the House of Commons on four separate occasions. He even founded his own Silent Majority Party.
Jerry Doyle also ran for Congress from the San Fernando Valley as a Republican, but lost. His talk-radio program is nationally syndicated, and information about it and whether you can receive it in your area can be found at http://www.jerrydoyle.com . If you’re not a conservative, he is much easier to listen to than many conservative talk hosts, leaning more toward libertarian minarchist, and more open-minded and willing to listen to his callers than many other, more angry hosts while still holding to his own principles.
You have a subway in Los Angeles thanks to George Takei. The SCRTD Board of Directors was tied 2-2 on whether to build it or not, and Mr. Takei was called away from the set of Star Trek — The Motion Picture to cast the deciding vote in favor.
When he ran for the Los Angeles City Council, he ran for the seat which had been vacated by Tom Bradley when he became Mayor. He finished 2nd in a field of sixteen, and KNBC-TV’s Los Angeles Saturday morning television premier of Star Trek — The Animated Series had to use a different episode than the rest of the country, one in which he wasn’t featured, because it was thought that even though it was a cartoon of him using his voice, the other council candidates would still demand equal time.
He likes interacting with fans, and I would speculate that he left the Westercon Hotel because he didn’t want to give the mistaken impression that he was a convention guest or trying to take away attention from the actual guests. He was very generous with his time conversing with two other fans and me at the Biltmore Hotel, local Democratic Party election night party center in November 1982 when we passed him in a hallway and when he was younger would occasionally ask convention fans to join him in morning runs before the next day’s convention activities began, to the point of knocking on some of their room doors and asking if they were ready to go!
When George came to I-Con in 1983 he surprised many late-sleeping college students/con-runners by asking who wanted to jog with him Sunday morning. When he returned the next year “Jogging with George” was a published Programming item.
(as one of those late-sleeping college student/con-runners I’m told it went very well.)