Is it too much to ask–for decency crusaders to be decent? To ask those obsessed with morality to be moral?
“Indecency” and “morality” are not America’s real problems. Rather, we clearly have an intolerance problem, a church/state convergence problem, a losing-our-right-to-privacy problem, a SexPanic problem. But when people in power (elected or otherwise) fear our indecency or immorality, the rest of us are made to suffer.
Recently, the FCC gave itself the right to decide that one-time uses of common cuss words on TV or radio were “indecent,” subjecting a station broadcasting such a word to enormous fines. Excuse me, what part of “free expression” don’t you FCC commissioners understand?
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rescued the American public by ruling that the FCC couldn’t give itself the right to criminalize everyday speech. Five weeks later, Senator Rockefeller introduced a bill to overturn the court’s decision, mandating that the FCC “maintain a policy that a single word or image may constitute indecent programming.”
Enter Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens, Vice-Chair of the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee. This is the guy who’s been holding phony porn hearings, desecrating our legislative process with attempts to criminalize the behavior of 50 million Americans with junk science and tales of porn addicts abandoning their wives in the snow, babes in arm.
Stevens rushed to co-sponsor Rockefeller’s bill, because if children hear “goddamn,” “bullshit,” “fuckin’ awesome” or the other words they routinely say on the playground at home on their TVs or radios, they will be tragically damaged. And if we need to trample the basic rights of Americans–adults and children—to prevent this mental holocaust, so be it. Stevens is obsessed with maintaining and enhancing America’s “decency” and “morality.”
But oops, this week the FBI and IRS raided Stevens’s home. He seems to have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal gifts from a contractor who’s quite the shady operator.
Ted Stevens, you bigoted, authoritarian, sex-obsessed hypocrite—where’s the “decency”? Where’s the “morality”?
The idea that “morality” consists primarily of limiting sexual experience and expression is the twisted heritage of Saints Augustine, Jerome, and their descendents. As documented by theologian Raymond Lawrence and others, this is a perversion of Christianity’s Jewish roots. Today, as in previous centuries, this twisted “morality” provides plenty of cover for true immorality—for abuse of power, betrayal of public trust, and plain lying.
Senator, there’s only one real “fleeting expletive” the nation need be concerned with. That word is corruption—an immorality which you epitomize.