23 August 2005

What Does a Sierra Club Endorsement Mean?

The Sierra Club has endorsed Mallory for Mayor. On his website, Mallory expresses his gratitude and his committment to the environment.

I used to subscribe to Sierra (the Club's outdoor magazine) about 13-14 years ago. The environment was one of the issues that got me interested in politics and government because I was kind of an outdoors guy. And then one issue came with an editorial perspective on abortion. "Why is this in here?" I thought.

I supported the Sierra Club because I cared about the environment. I didn't appreciate the fact that it was trying to be a "panliberal" organization, accreting other causes unrelated to the environment. But I wasn't naive; I understood that organizations typically support other organizations when there is substantial crossover in members' ideology. But on principle, I felt it was wrong, so I let my subscription lapse.

The reason I bring this up is that it means the Sierra Club may not be endorsing Mallory for reasons strictly about the environment. There is a common attitude among some liberals and Democrats that supporting black candidates sort of proves you're more progressive-minded than everyone else. In other words, support is often based on race rather than policy.

The only way to know whether this is the case is to research the candidates' backgrounds, but this is what we're supposed to trust organizations like the Sierra Club to do. So you see, this is what happens when you don't adhere to principles: you lose credibility.

Since I've only read Sierra a few times since, someone else will have to tell me whether I can trust them.

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