Just kidding, I wanted to get your attention. As a 501c3 non-profit corporation, Humane Society of Berks County is prohibited by law from making candidate endorsements. We can lobby for legislation. We can push for policy changes. But we cannot say, “Vote for X!” or “Oppose Y!”
We actually like it that way. That’s because as soon as you stand beside one candidate, no matter how awesome that specific candidate is on our specific animal welfare issues, you alienate half the world. The half in the party voting for the other candidate. To be clear on endorsements: We can’t, we don’t, we won’t and we don’t want to. So if you get something in the mail endorsing a candidate that seems like it’s from us, it isn’t from us.
Every election cycle I get a couple irate calls and emails from people who get an endorsement mailer from an organization with a name similar to ours and they think we have endorsed a candidate. I only get the calls when they don’t like the endorsement. I always have to remind the caller of our 501c3 prohibition against endorsement. I remind the caller that there are literally thousands of organizations with Humane Society in the name, that none are related to us in any way, and that some are State and Federal Political Action Committees (PACs) which are permitted to endorse specific candidates. But they don’t represent us.
Still suspicious, as so many tend to be in this era of poisonous and underhanded politics, I usually end up having to track down the origin of the endorsement mailer to confirm that it was someone else and that they weren’t using our name (since the mailer has inevitably long since been pitched). That usually calms the person down and HSBC gets our friend back now that they realize we aren’t endorsing that dirty, stinking [insert name of your personally despised candidate here].
These mailers are going out and more will. Again, if you get one, not us.
Here is what we do promote: If animals and animal welfare is important to you, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Green, Tea, Constitution, Socialist— actual socialist, not just a Democrat. I’ll leave that joke be your personal Rorschach test, wink, wink — it is up to you to hold your political party responsible for the candidates it selects for general elections. I’m not saying animal welfare needs to the single issue on which you decide your vote. For most people it’s not since most people tend to vote along party lines.
But your job as a partisan voter who cares about animal welfare is to make sure that you don’t have the nagging feeling that the candidate running against your candidate is better on animal welfare issues. I know I’ve had that feeling all too often.
The reality is that most elections are decided in the party primaries. That is where you as a voter concerned about animal welfare have your chance to define who your candidate will be. You need to let your party know that while you may be a sure vote for their candidate in the general election, in the primary you will select the candidate you think is best on animal welfare issues. If enough people did this we would get to the point where all candidates for elected office all equally support good animal welfare policy. Then we can vote for whoever we want to and know that on at least one issue, animal welfare, we can count on getting what we want. Then we can leave the candidates to get back to accusing each other of wanting to destroy America without interruption (please pass the popcorn).
Your job as an animal welfare voter is to make animal welfare a new third rail of politics, one which candidates in your primary scurry away from being on the wrong side of. You need to make them feel that having bad positions on animal welfare, or ignoring or dismissing the issues, would be like coming out against God, babies, apple pie and the U.S. of A. Believe me, there are plenty of candidates who are agnostics, find babies disgusting, are allergic to apples, and are maybe even a Manchurian candidate — Rorschach again, wink, wink again — but none of them are stupid enough to admit it. At least not if they want to win a primary or general election.
If animal welfare is a single issue vote for you, you probably don’t mind those mailers. Either way, there are resources out there which will rank and score the candidates for just about every office on just about every issue. Just Google “animal welfare + candidate + endorsements” is you want to know where candidates stand on these issues. You’ll get plenty.
And you’ll be able to ask your candidate why that dirty, stinking [insert name here] got a higher animal welfare rating than he or she did. And then ask them if they hate babies, grandmothers and veterans along with puppies. You’ll have fun watching their eyeballs spin around in their heads.
Oh, and one final thing. Candidate endorsement mailing? Not us.