Analysis: Selling Porn Prosecution To Democrats
Somehow, it's doubtful that they'll find ears as receptive as Bush's
Posted Nov 06th, 2008 06:00 PM by Mark Kernes
- Robert Peters, president of Morality In Media, after badgering the presidential candidates with demands that they take a stand against obscenity, if not also pornography, has now narrowed his sights to the president-elect, Barack Obama.
"First, let me congratulate you on Tuesday's victory," Peters writes disingenuously. "You fought and won a long and difficult campaign against two worthy [sic] opponents. But if you now hope to become the President of all Americans, you will have to make policy decisions that citizens who voted for and against you can support."
Of course, it doesn't take him long to get down to the meat of his problem:
"I am writing to you again about the need to vigorously enforce federal obscenity laws," he begins the second paragraph, adding, "In particular, the individuals you nominate to serve as Attorney General, Director of the FBI and U.S. Attorneys will play crucial roles in the matter of enforcement or non-enforcement of federal obscenity laws. In the longer term, your nominations for federal judges will also play a crucial role - whether in upholding the laws of the land or in weakening or overturning Constitutional laws necessary for the protection of morality, family life and children. I say 'Constitutional laws' because I do not subscribe to the despotic theory that the Constitution is whatever unelected federal judges say it is."
However, what the "unelected federal judges" did in the first place was to find a sexual-speech exception to the First Amendment's prohibition on Congress making any laws "abridging freedom of speech, or of the press," so it's unclear how Peters thinks he can have it both ways ... but whatever!
Still, Peters claims that the U.S. has "an already serious and still growing problem with 'adult' obscenity," a phrase which gives Peters the "best" of both worlds: A polemic against "obscenity" and an implication that all "adult pornography" (as opposed to kiddie porn) is obscene.
"For the record," he states, pretending to be an authority on the subject, "'adult' obscenity does not depict actual children, but does include hardcore pornographic depictions of sex with persons who look like children, sex with barely legal teens, sex with animals, sex with excrement, sex with family members, sex with multiple partners, sex with prostitutes, sex with she-males, sex with someone else's spouse, and the degradation, rape, and torture of women."
"Sex with excrement"? We know Lenny Bruce used to joke about the idea that if a guy got desperate enough, he'd even try to have sex with a tree ... but excrement?
Equally cluelessly, Peters lists the "victims" of pornography, who supposedly include those who perform in it, those who watch it (and their spouses), and women and children who allegedly get harassed, assaulted and raped because of it.
"Despite what we often read and hear in the mainstream media, the First Amendment does not protect obscene materials," Peters claims, ignoring the unequivocal text of the Amendment. He goes on to cite several Supreme Court rulings, all undoubtedly the product of the "activist judges" he excoriated in his second paragraph.
But bad Supreme Court decisions aside, Peters cautions Obama that the government has "failed miserably" in protecting minors from seeing porn, though there are no scientifically-conducted studies showing that anyone is harmed by seeing the material.
"The choice for you as the next President," he warns ominously, "is either to build on the progress made by your immediate predecessor or to allow the Justice Department to revert to the policy adopted under President Clinton's watch - namely, to give commercial distributors of hardcore pornography a 'free ride.' If you choose to be a builder, the large majority of Americans old enough to vote will support you," he adds, referring to a push poll conducted by Harris Interactive in April, which supposedly found that 75% of Americans want obscenity laws "enforced vigorously."
Hopefully, Peters won't find as friendly ears in the White House as he did when Bush was president - and this time, Peters also has competition in the form of Dr. Marty Klein, who's just published his own formulation of how the new administration should handle adult material and laws regarding sex in general.
"Dear President Obama," Klein writes in his latest blog posting. "For months, I've been predicting that when you win, nothing will change regarding sex. I've said you won't stop the government's War On Sex; you won't demand respect for sexual rights as human rights; you won't prevent religious fanatics from controlling non-believers' sex lives. You now have your big chance: prove me wrong. Here's what you need to do."
Klein then proceeds to list 10 reasonable changes that Obama could institute fairly quickly that would begin to undo some of the damage done over the past eight years, including:
* End the Department of Justice's war on adult entertainment. Keep the war on child porn. Make it clear they're two different things.
* Decriminalize all consensual sex that teens have with other teens. Decriminalize teens sharing photos of themselves having sex.
* Require all sex education programs to be scientifically accurate. Isn't that required by the policies of car manufacturers, meat-packing plants, and toothpaste makers?
* Require all municipalities that want to restrict commercial sexual expression (strip clubs, adult bookstores, swing clubs, etc.) to actually demonstrate a need to do so, rather than simply claim "effects like crime, disease, and blight are well-established." Because they're not.
* Get the FCC out of the censorship business. Let Americans use the "off" and "change channel" buttons on their TV remotes whenever they want; it's good practice for voting.
The full list, as well as several other engaging thoughts about sexuality, is available here
"I've said in dozens of lectures this year that you won't make a difference in America's War On Sex," Klein concludes. "Please, prove me wrong."
We can only hope!