Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sex Education

            You know what is really pathetic?  The political issue that is going to define things for the next few years is going to be reproductive rights, sex education, and people's access to birth control.  It is the lead weight that will hang around the Republican party for years to come, because it is by far the most inconsistent part of the core ideology the party was founded on, the ideology of fair play.

            Agnostic freedoms, freeing the slaves, crushing the KKK, women's suffrage, all of these things were done by the Republican party.  Decrying the military industrial complex, fighting the war on drugs with treatment rather than jail sentences, those were both on the Republican party.  The FDA, that was the Republicans.  The idea that government can be used to create a level playing field for all participants is what the Republican party used to be about, now I don't know what it is about.

            They just beat the same two drums for mass appeal: lower taxes, gigantic army.  Those are not bad drums to beat, but now a third drum has begun to beat, and I have no clue why: Moral Fortitude.  The idea that through legal wrangling we can make people more moral, with all stick and no carrot people will fall into line with ideals that didn't even work when they were created centuries past.

            I don't want to live in a theocracy, and I don't like the idea of religion getting special treatment financially or socially.  I hate to break it to you but the phrase, "These are my beliefs, you have to respect them," doesn't hold water.  The only thing a person can be ethically judged on is their beliefs and actions.  If someone believes that violence against homosexuals or women is okay, then they are evil.  If someone believes that their world view must be followed by others under penalty, then they are a theocratic tyrant.

            I am pro sex education for a multitude of reasons, and I will explain why.  People typically will take the stance that, "the government should not take the role of a parent, and it is a parent's job to explain sex to children when they deem it appropriate."  That makes sense for the vast majority of families, most parents are capable of explaining the how's and why's of sex, but not all of them are.  What if I were to point out how many children are sexually abused by parents and care givers in this country?  How many of those abuse victims know enough about sex to know they are being abused?  How many of them know to seek help?  How to seek help?  How to explain the violence that is being put on them?  Sex education is not always about teaching children about how to have sex, but about healthy, safe sex, and what is abuse.  Can we all agree that educational role is important and needs to be handled by a teacher?

Who looks out for them?
             Beyond that, knowing how to use condoms, the pill, and spermicidal lubes are important for helping them have safe sex when they are adults.  It also creates a society that doesn't treat sex as a taboo, allowing us to talk about the subject more plainly and without shame, confusion, or regret.  Wouldn't everyone like to have a little less stress in their lives on this topic?  To know what they want out of a relationship and to be able to explain that?  Why is that considered bad?

            Here is the retort, "People shouldn't be having sex before marriage."  That does not hold up to scrutiny.  I don't believe in your religion, and I want to have sex, why should I have to wait until marriage when there are healthy means of having sex outside of marriage?  What is more, why shouldn't you still know about birth control just because you are married?  There are many healthy and happy couples that want to have these options available and knowing what they are and how to use them without personal taboos and confusion helps.

            Lastly the life versus choice argument.  "It is a life".  Say the billboards as I drive through the creepy redneck part of Florida.  You are right, it is.  And as I have gone over in the last few paragraphs, it is a life that does not need to happen through safe sex.  Barring that this is the kind of Kryptonian sperm that can get through a condom, survive the spermicidal fluid, get to the egg, and is then not shed anyway.  I still think that ultimately the choice resides with the woman who has to carry the potential child to term.  It is her body that is to be used as an incubator.  However, imagine this happening in the world I am trying to envision, a world where the topic of being pregnant is not seen as something shameful, but an occasional by product of living a full and active life.  A world in which the presence of a child is not financially debilitating.  A world in which everyone can be assured that their children will grow up safe and happy.  I imagine this world would not have as much of a need for clinics because the process, while still performed would be seen as a rare but sometimes necessary choice that is not taken lightly.

            I suppose if I have a political stance it is that of pro-sex.  I think people should be able to talk about it frankly.  I think people should be able to say Fuck on television.  I think that instead of sex being turned into this mysterious commercial and social force that lobotomizes us all because we worry about the finer bullshit details of other people trying to rule our bodies (yes, "our" bodies, last time I checked condoms are not covered by that health care bill and I think most guys would like them to be cheaper), we should instead all want more.  We should all come to expect higher standards of living as the world gets greater and greater technology.  We shouldn't have to settle.  Just like we expect roads to be paved, and 9-1-1 to respond to our calls we should be able to expect access to medicine that makes us all more productive and happier.  And this is why I think the Republican party has turned into stupid in recent times, as we have to listen to Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum, and somehow still Sarah Palin talk about how they have such moral authority to make the world behave itself.

            Where have Teddy, Abe, and Ike's ideas of fair play gone?

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