Monday, April 14, 2008

The gloves come off!

As recently as ten minutes ago, I commented on another blog that I would vote for either democratic nominee, and that I'd vote for ANYONE but McCain.

Now I gotta tell ya, after reading this post at Shakesville, I just don't even know what to think. You know by my sidebar that I support Hillary Clinton. I feel good about that choice, despite her rather poorly run campaign and her not-always-so-smart actions. I think she's a strong woman, one who will use her connections in the corporate world to start squeezing some corporate nuts and returning the scales to more of a balance between corporatocracy and democracy. Call me crazy, but I just think she'll get into office and discard all that war-hawk big-pharma bullshite she's been forced to say to get where she is, and then she'll polish up her shoes and start kicking some ass.

Anyway, that said, I really don't have too much of a problem with Barack Obama. I'm not a fan of his attitude toward teh gays, and I don't he will be tough enough to turn the country around and get us out of the shitter that BushCo has put us in. Still--the guy's a Constitutional law scholar, and lord knows he would show a hell of a lot more respect for that document than the currect idiot-dictator in the White House. That point alone made me feel like if I had to cast a ballot for Obama in November, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

But now I read his comments on abstinence programs, and like I said -- I just don't even know what to think. Every single reputable and scientifically sound study ever done proves that abstinence-only programs DO. NOT. WORK. While the idea of teaching (or should I say preaching?) abstinence sounds like a great idea to many folks, the plain truth, the undeniable fact is that kids will STILL have sex, no matter what.

So whatever your hopes, your beliefs, your attitudes about kids and sex, I firmly believe that it's just plain irresponsible to deprive your kids of knowledge about sex and the options that exist for birth control/health. I firmly believe that you cannot legislate morality. Legislation absolutely must be based on reality, on what people actually do, not on what you hope they do. I mean, you hope that people will find work and start making their own money, but you don't cut off unemployment because you think it encourages people to be lazy and not get jobs. You realize that in the real world, with the job market being what it is, some people are going to need longer than three months to secure employment, and you give them more time. You don't ignore reality and then pretend you're being "tough" on those "welfare queens" because you think that in your heart of hearts you would NEVER accept unemployment!, so neither should any other decent upstanding person!

I apply this same reality-based logic to sex education. I know and you know that kids will have sex. Maybe not YOUR kid, and maybe not MY kid, but kids in general will have sex. Right or wrong, sin or not, whatever--it's unrealistic and irresponsible to pretend that because you tell your kid not to have sex until marriage (of course, you're assuming your kid isn't gay!), and because the schoolteacher tells them to wait, that they will absolutely unequivocally wait. When the CDC shows that 1 in 4 girls aged 14-19 has a sexually transmitted disease, it doesn't take a statistician to figure out that one of those 1-in-4-girls just MIGHT BE YOUR KID. Sure, you hope that your kid will make a responsible decision and "just say no" when they're in that car or under the bleachers. But JUST IN CASE, I'd rather my kid have a condom in her purse and the knowledge about how to use one. Just in case. Because it's better than seeing her become one of those 1-in-4, isn't it?

Now--back to Obama and his comments on abstinence programs. With a h/t to Shakesville's Kate Harding, here are the things he's said:
And what I have consistently talked about is to take a comprehensive
approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of
sexuality to our children.

My view is, is that we should use whatever the best approaches are, the
scientifically sound approaches are, to reduce this devastating disease
[HIV/AIDS] all across the world. And part of that, I think, should be a strong
education component and I think abstinence education is important.

I do think that -- and I've said this when I was in Kenya -- that there is
a behavioral element to AIDS that has to be addressed. And if there is -- if
there's promiscuity and we are pretending that that's not an issue in spreading
AIDS, then we're missing part of the answer.

I'm not arguing the fact that indeed "there is a behavioral element to AIDS that has to be addressed." That's pretty fucking obvious when men are raping women all over the world as I type this. But to say that "a comprehensive approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of sexuality to our children" is going to work is to ignore the scientific evidence, to do a disservice to our children who depend on us, the grownups, to educate them. How "comprehensive" can you be when you're "focus[ing] on abstinence," Obama? There's nothing comprehensive about abstinence education. It's hope-based bullshit that deprives kids--my kid included, thanks to the idiots who run her school--of the knowledge they need to not only avoid pregnancy, but to SURVIVE. To remain HEALTHY.

*deeeeeeeep breath*

I can only hope that Obama is smart enough, realistic enough, to lay this abstinence-only crap to the side and push for truly comprehensive sex education programs for kids, should he become president. I can only hope.

And in case you're wondering what Hillary thinks of abstinence-only, peep this.

16 comments:

Sue J said...

Great post. This sounds like another one of Obama's efforts to please whatever crowd he's speaking to at the time. Look for him to say "that's not what I meant" or "perhaps I could have said that better" when pressed on the ridiculousness of abstinence programs.

I really enjoy reading your blog, by the way. Have been lurking for a while!

Liberality said...

The main reason I support Clinton is because she has a better record on women's rights than does Obama. His discomfort about human sexuality in all its forms, his opposition to sex ed., his inability to call rape rape....yeah, all those things about him make me mighty uncomfortable. Read Tennessee Guerilla Women's blog because they have many posts that outline Obama's less than flattering stance on issues important to all women.

vikkitikkitavi said...

You've made some good points, however, I'm not so sure you can excuse Hillary for the things she's been "forced" to say and do to get where she is, and then refuse to give Obama the benefit of the same doubt.

Don't get me wrong, I feel somewhat lost between what candidates feel they have to say and what they would really do in office. I find it all very confusing. Yes, Obama said what's in your link about gays, but he also said this:

"If we are honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them."

Hillary and Obama are both political creatures. They both want to win. They are both calculating how to do that. They are both trying to walk that very thin line. But no matter how much I waver between one and the other, I never forget that either of them is 10,000 times better than that batshit crazy old fart.

CDP said...

Liberality makes a great point, they're BOTH politicians (Obama's most fervent supporters prefer to suggest that he's the lofty idealist and she's the down-and-dirty do anything to win POLITICIAN...which is not a dirty word, by the way). I have no problem with abstinence being a PART of a sex ed curriculum, but not the ONLY or even the main focus. There are some kids who aren't ready for sex and they need to hear from adults that not everyone is doing it and that it's OK not to. That said, there are many (the majority) kids who are going to have sex no matter what is taught in school and it's terribly irresponsible of us as adults not to give them all of the information they need to protect themselves. Great post (bunny woman)

Randal Graves said...

People are going to have a good ole naked time, and they're going to smoke and shoot up. Abstinence garbage is the same as the war on drugs. Neither has ever, is, or will ever work. Ever.

Oh well. We'll see how effective the Dem machine is against The Maverick® in the months leading up to November. Sorry Howard, it's okay to say that McCain is an old fucker, it really is.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Obama must be trying to get some of the conservative votes because the whole teaching abstinence idea is so back-assward for today's world, that mostly only Republicans believe it's the right approach.

dguzman said...

Sue--glad you're here! You hit the nail on the head with that "oh, I really meant..." thing--almost as bad as McCain on that score.

Liberality--I have been reading TGW lately because of your links to it, so thanks for that! And I agree with you; he is very conservative in many ways, yet Hillary has never been afraid to back equal rights for gays, improve access to healthcare for women, etc.

Vik--I see your point, but I'll add that the abstinence-only BS is one of those hot-button issues for me; I haven't heard anything from Hillary that I couldn't stomach, yet I've heard a LOT from Obama that just hits those hot buttons I have inside me.

CDP--definitely a good point. I mean, we are telling our daughter to resist the peer pressure in every way, etc. But it's that creepy "FOCUS on the abstinence!" "sacredness of sex" radical-reich-speak that gets me about Obama's quotes.

Randal--if McCain wins (or steals) the election--I'm coming over to your house. We'll just stay drunk for the next four years.

GKL--obviously. I think he also wants to use that same reich-wing talk that the uber-christians use so they remember he's not a muslim.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Just as you think Hillary will lay aside her baggage after she gets elected, I think Obama will lay aside this one as well.

Mary Ellen said...

I watched Obama and Hillary at that Compassion Forum they had on CNN and that was one of the first things that struck me, when he said that he would embrace the abstinence program. He also mentioned in that forum that we as Democrats need to embrace the Evangelical church. This was Obama, embracing the hell out of the Evangelical Church. For those who have lectured me about the upcoming Supreme Court judges...I don't trust a guy who says that teaching abstinence is the way to go in order to stop teen pregnancies and stop HIV/AIDS. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to think...no sex= no pregnancy or no AIDS. Really, that needs to be taught???

To Vikkitikkitavi- Hillary has been working for women's health from the time she's been in politics, even before Bill was President. If you look at all she has done, you know it isn't for show or political gain. It's obvious that all her work was done out of love and respect for women's rights to health. I wrote a post on my blog about all the work she has done for women's health and compared it to the measly "words" that Obama has used to say he supports Women's health issues. He's done almost NOTHING.

dguzman said...

Dr. Monkey--I understand your view, and I hope that if he wins, he really does come back toward the left.

ME--my point exactly. I don't doubt that if Obama spent some more time in the Senate that he might have the chance to do more for women, gays, etc. But Hillary's focus on women's issues is proved by her actions, and it's about fucking time that we have someone who can look at the world through a woman's eyes.

vikkitikkitavi said...

With respect, Mary Ellen, organizations like NARAL seem to be just fine with Obama. I understand that your choice is Hillary, but I think it's a mistake to take his statements about making abstinence ed a part of a comprehensive sex ed package, and to construe a position that is much, much, much further right than the one he actuall holds. In my opinion, as far as this issue goes, the candidates are a wash.

dguzman said...

I suppose the bright side is that either of them will be light years better than Chimpy or McCain.

Liberality said...

Why should I have to just HOPE Obama does right by women when I could KNOW FOR SURE that Clinton will?

TomCat said...

DG, it is right that you should strongly support the candidate of your choice, but in fairness, I have to say that I have heard Obama say that in addition to teaching the dangers of promiscuity, we must also teach the importance of contraception and make it available. However, I would not argue with the statement that Clinton is stronger than Obama on 'women's issues'. However, when the smoke clears and one of them is the nominee, McConJob is wrong on every issue, so even if you have to hold your nose, please support the winner.

karenzipdrive said...

I think this abstinence only bullshit was merely Obama pandering to the nation's imbeciles.
But yeah, I prefer Hillary's positions on this as well as gay and women's rights.
And yeah again, I think either of them will become more real once they get elected.

dguzman said...

Lib--yup!

Tomcat--definitely. My full support will go to the nominee, whoever it is.

Karen--I hope you're right.