Starting with Sara Pallin and ending (so far) with Rick Santorum, the one thing that is clear in the whole mish-mash that is the 2012 Republican Party presidential selection fiasco is that; Republicans have a real problem with sex. I don’t just mean they have a problem with not having sex and even more when they do. Republicans seem to have a problem with just about every aspect of sex, sexuality and even sexism.
The reason(s) commonly given why the first love of the rank and file of the GOP – one Sarah Pallin - didn’t even try the primary route to get the nomination, was that her views and positions on any number of issue was, to put it politely, a little under-informed or simplistically wacko. When her apparent replacement – one Michelle Bachmann – arrived on the scene much the same was said of her positions and views. Not to say that their politics didn’t leave something to be desired in the rationality department; but I believe that it was something else they had in common that disqualified them from being viable candidates – sex. Sex as in gender, specifically; that they both share the chromosomal combination that makes them readily identifiable as female members of the human species. I think it is because they are women they weren’t seriously considered and that there is no way this side of the 22nd century (maybe) that the Republican Party would actually nominate a woman as their choice for Commander in Chief. It was not because of their slightly (for a Republican candidate in 2012) nutty ideas. There were just as many and often nuttier ideas voice by Ron Paul alone, not to mention the rest of the GOP pander crew, as Bachmann and Pallin combined spilled forth. But somehow when men said crazy things; they were tactfully referred to as persons with “vision” or “big idea” guys. When you look at statements like Gingrich’s statehood for moon proposal or Santorum telling everyone they should not have recreational sex because he didn’t think it was right or Perry not remembering which three cabinet positions he thought he wanted to eliminate; nothing either Pallin or Bachmann said was any more wacky, arrogant or stupid. That leaves only their femaleness as the thing disqualifying them as the Republican choice for sitting in the oval office.
Santorum is either way ahead of some unknown curve or way (centuries) behind in his thinking when it comes to virtually all matters concerning sex. Either way, he is very out of touch with almost all Americans on the realities of the where, when, how and why Americans want, can and do have sex with one another. Abstinence, except when procreation is desired, is not exactly or even close to the way the vast majority of the citizens of this country feel about having sex. On top of that I think virtually all of us think; who is this guy to tell us if, when, why and how we should be involved in the most intimate and personal activities of our life? Especially egregious is that Santorum, and his fellow travelers in varying degrees, base their opinions (wrongly presented as known truths) in some form of interpretation of their personal take on a specific sect of a certain religion and want their personal religious interpretations made into the law of the land ; something specifically and rightfully forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.
And while we are on the subject of making subjective readings of religion into law; there is the matter of opinion as to with whom we may have sex, share domestic life, love and honor and all the other good, bad and sometimes even ugly stuff that goes with marriage between two people. All of the Republican 2012 candidates, past and present have been against same sex marriage. As states slowly but surely assert their right to allow same sex marriages, the Republicans are facing the wrong way and fighting a rear guard action against what becoming clearly seen as the civil rights issue it has always been. Again the Constitution says that with whom you do, as well as all the other aspects of having sex, is a personal and private matter and none of the governments business; no matter what your, mine or their religious beliefs make us feel.
The issue of who, as in which individuals, should be having sex and under what circumstances is a problem for Republicans as seen in the “contraception debate”. First there is the fact that there are many medical reasons, other than just pregnancy prevention, for the use of birth control pills and other contraception programs; which render the opinion of anyone but the doctor and patient involved irrelevant. That leaves the situation where a woman (when pills are the form of contraception) and/or a man (when condoms are the method) choose to not create a pregnancy, but also chose to have sex anyway, maybe just for the fun of it. Most people consider this an entirely reasonable and appropriate choice for married folks, single folks and everyone in between. Whether you think this “safe sex just for fun” is okay or if you disapprove, I think it’s none of your business at all. I think some else‘s right to have sex in whatever way (as long as it is legal) should be as private and off limits to anyone’s control, as each of us wants our own sex life to be.
And control of other people’s sexual activities is at the core of what all the yelling and pounding is about. That, and of course the old religiously based objection some people have to the right of women to have complete control over their reproductive activities. Many Republicans with a religious basis for their anti-sex position really want abstinence as the only acceptable contraception as a means to keep people who might consider an abortion from becoming pregnant. They fail to see that there is much more of likelihood, human natural drives being what they are, for a whole array of contraception availabilities to be the most effective means to prevent unwanted pregnancy, no matter what the outcome of the pregnancy is.
Rush Limbaugh (and we assume some of his listeners) seems to think that the more sex a women has, the more contraception she needs, a completely wrong but not unknown misconception among some men. However the truth is one pill a day is all any women needs to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, no matter how frequent or how rare her sexual encounters are. Men on the other hand need a new condom each and every time they have sex with anyone (please don’t try to step around this one). That may be a burden, but is it also the right thing to do, unless you and your partner want to make a baby. As far as an aspirin between the knees, that was bad joke three generations ago and still is.
If Republicans would just try and get over their fear, loathing, titillation, repression and all the other feelings sex generates in them, either based on religious teachings or just plain lack of experience; they might be able to relate to the average American more realistically on a whole host of truly relevant and important issues. They could see that letting the wealthiest of Americans pay a lower percentage of their income than many Americans; just like letting rich people have the amount and kind of sex they want; doesn’t help anyone else but those rich people. However in the case of rich people having sex (the same for poor folks too), it doesn’t hurt anyone either!
Bottom line is that I think this country would be better off if the Republicans (and a few Democrats too) paid little or no attention to what’s going on in anyone else’s bedroom and a bit more (maybe even quite a bit) of attention to what’s going on in the some people’s (as in corporations) boardrooms. Who knows, they might even begin to like sex and learn to hate greed.