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.
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.