“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
“Morality is a venereal disease. Its primary stage is called virtue; its secondary stage, boredom; its tertiary stage, syphilis.”
Karl Kraus (1874-1936)
Like most folks I know, I’ve been singing the Blues since Red Tuesday. Yes indeed, Brothers & Sisters, Lovers & Sinners, I got dem Dem-dumb Blue State Blues…I’ll get over it. I’m essentially optimistic. But let me tell you: When I’m Blue, I don’t need some red-faced Red State redneck, who voted for the nastiest gaggle of chickenhawk war criminals and crony-nesting thieves ever to perch upon the Executive Branch, lecturing me about “moral values.” Nor do I need any lily-livered, “Time for Healing,” down-n-defeated Dems trying to turn my deep Blue Values purple with acquiescence, or render them vomit green with a dollop of cowardly yellow.
And speaking of cowardly lions, hey Cowboy King George: Now’s the time to hop on your horse and ride through town, spending all that political capital you claim you earned! What’s the matter, Georgy, ‘fraid of horses?
Not daring to question the “mandate” of their horse-fearing Moral Leader, American pundits in both Red and Blue States have taken refuge in bloviating upon the importance of Moral Values in politics. As if the phrase “honest politician” is anything but an oxymoron. Though this is not about honesty, of course. Honesty is only a Red Issue when you’re talking about a Democrat, and it has something to do with sex.
Nor does it seem that Red State Moral Values have anything to do with torturing, raping or killing innocent people. As the pundits never tire of telling us, one in five American voters (obviously, a small minority of Americans) cited “moral values” as a major issue, and eight out of 10 of these Solomonic adjudicators voted for a President who, independent studies had just revealed, had summarily, and quite merrily executed over 100,000 men, women and children (mostly the latter) upon invading the wrong country in his terrorist War on Terror. And that’s just a count for the first year.
But who cares about counting dead people? Not General Tommy Franks who says, “We don’t do body counts.” Even if we did, Barbara Bush (the Matriarch Medusa, not the cute Yalie half of the Bush Twins) doesn’t want to “waste my beautiful mind on something like…body bags and deaths and how many and when…” Nor does moral Red America, who much prefers counting sexual sins, in which any kind of sex–outside of married, monogamous, missionary position intercourse with the lights out, for procreation only-counts against you, if you’re caught. And that’s a big IF. As a Blue State sex therapist who counsels a lot of Red State clients, I know that more than a few exurbs-full of these pink-cheeked moralizers are screwing their neighbors’ wives, as well as their neighbors’ sons, not to mention their sheep, in between voting-as-sacrament for the horse-phobic cowboy with the trigger-happy soul. And no, I won’t name names.
Though I’m their trusted Mother Confessor in private, the Red Statists spare no effort in excoriating my profession in public. Typical Madonna/Whore complex, I suppose, but it’s getting medieval. In the World According to the Red States, sex therapists, educators, entertainers and other Americans like me (especially those of us who reside in the azure-Blue State of California) are more dangerous than Osama, Saddam, John Kerry or even Hillary Clinton.
With the supreme assurance of the ignorant, they assert our lack of values. Correct me if I’m wrong (and please, no anthrax or horse poop in my email), but as far as I can see, Red State Values come down to the 10 A’s: antiabortion, anti-female, anti-secular, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-poor-people, anti-gay, anti-art, anti-porn & anti-sex (aka abstinence only). Now excuse me for not helping with the “healing” here, but these are some sorry, terrorized excuses for values. Any political compromise that bows down to these values is as immoral and irrational as saying your candidate would be “better and smarter” at conducting Dubya’s depraved War on Iraq.
To hear the pundits tell it, one could assume that Americans who don’t genuflect to the 10 A’s have no values (or value) at all. It’s just Red Values and Blue Flipflops. It’s true that many Democrats don’t seem to know which end is up these days, which is one reason why their candidate could barely inspire the mammoth Anybody But Bush (ABB) vote. Just imagine if he really had represented Blue Values. We actually might have “Licked Bush, Beat Dick” and taken the bastards out.
So what about Blue Values? What about good old-fashioned Jeffersonian, radical-liberal, democratic (with a small d), progressive, populist, personal, Constitution-enshrined, science-based, heartfelt, sexual values? Yes, SEXUAL. After all, VALUES is code for SEX, isn’t it? Or is it WAR? Well, it depends on the color of your glasses
So let me bring these colors into focus, Brothers & Sisters, Lovers & Sinners, at least as I see them. And remember: I’m a sex therapist, so don’t be shocked if my values turn you on.
MY BLUE VALUES
Note: The following is a personal free-associated list, not necessarily in order of importance, and not necessarily representing YOUR BLUE VALUES
When I talk about Blue Values…
I’m talking about the values of the Enlightenment, and not the Apocalypse;
I’m talking about the value of Hot Love, and not Perma-War;
I’m talking about the values of the U.S. Constitution, and not the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, The Book of Thoth, or the Gospels According to Anybody;
I’m talking about the value of lust, and not greed;
I’m talking about the value of explosive orgasms, and not exploding ordnance;
I’m talking about the value of bare beauty, and not naked aggression;
I’m talking about the value of pussy juice and lube, and not our blood for their oil;
I’m talking about the value of hard dicks, and not hardnosed dickheads;
I’m talking about the value of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and not “God, Guns and Gay-Bashing”;
I’m talking about the value of Ethical Hedonism, and not Unethical Puritanism;
I’m talking about the value of dildos and vibrators, and not cruise missiles and killing machines;
I’m talking about the value of intelligent erotica and smokin’ BLUE movies, and not Mel’s Christian death porn or U.S. military snuff films showing the village greens of Iraq running RED with blood;
I’m talking about the value of the Bonobo Way, and not acting like a baboon;
I’m talking about the value of masturbation, and not occupation;
I’m talking about the value of consensual BDSM games, and not colonial-style torture;
I’m talking about the value of people in bed with their lovers, and not TV news shows “embedded” with the government;
I’m talking about the value of science, innovation, open-mindedness and courage, and not superstition, creationism, bigotry and fear;
I’m talking about the value of governance based upon sweet reason, thrift and compassion, and not religious hysteria, acid-induced ecstasy, or even the rose-colored glasses of love;
I’m talking about the value of sexual connection, and not gender competition;
I’m talking about the value of good wine and good weed, and not jamming more than 2 million Americans in prison, many for victimless “crimes”;
I’m talking about the value of blue skies and a clean environment, and not red skies radiating pollution;
I’m talking about the value of sex research and education, and not enforced sexual stupidity;
I’m talking about the value of marriage, and not banning “certain people” from getting married;
I’m talking about the value of helping those less fortunate, and not blaming the poor for being poor;
I’m talking about the value of stem cell research, and not valuing the so-called “rights” of the unborn over the living
I’ve got plenty more values I could talk about…though I don’t want to get too preachy (hehe). But speaking of abortion, let me indulge my Blues State Blues for just a moment here, since being “pro-life” is being touted, in hushed tones, as the #1 Moral Values Issue rallying the Red State “values voters.” I’ve often wondered why Corporate America supports the Religious Right’s war on women’s reproductive freedom. I mean, what do all these rich folks get out of forcing all these poor women-even raped women–to have kids they don’t want to have? Of course, they don’t help these reluctant moms raise their unwanted kids; on the contrary, they take away their aid. It’s not possible that all these corporate fat cats who support the rabid anti-abortionites are just sadists (though as a therapist, I happen to know that more than a few of them are). There has to be a solid, practical reason.
But I just didn’t get it. Then Kelpie Wilson reminded me to look to history, specifically Ancient Rome, so often compared to modern America. Abortion was very popular in Rome and throughout the ancient world. It was neither immoral nor illegal. Unwanted children were a problem then as they are now. Many families sold their “extra” kids into slavery. Was abortion less moral than selling one’s own child into brutal slavery? You decide.
History tells us that more and more Roman women decided in favor of abortion, as well as contraception. They enjoyed their sex, those Romans. But as the Imperial Empire spread and the Imperial economy slowed, they stopped having large families they couldn’t afford. Thus the Roman slave population was drastically reduced. What was practical and moral for Roman women and their families became an obstacle for the Empire.
The Empire needed slaves. At its height, about 20% of the Roman Empire’s subjects were slaves. When fewer women bore unwanted children that they had to sell into slavery, many Roman systems (like the military) started to falter. That’s when the Roman government stepped in to outlaw abortion, as well as some forms of contraception. Lawmakers forced women, especially poor women, to bear unwanted children, precisely because they wanted these women to sell these same children into slavery to the state-and at a cheap price. Is that what the Reds mean by “value”?
Obviously, American Evangelicals, despite the fact that their movement made its name by being avid “abolitionists” instrumental in awakening the nation to the evils of slavery before the Civil War, don’t see it this way. But the fact is that all empires need slaves. They need militaries filled with poor young people who have virtually no other options. Of course, we don’t call them “slaves” here in modern America. We call them the Volunteer Army.
When a young poor person is enticed to enlist to “be all they can be,” then sent to Iraq to do Dubya’s dirty work and die, that’s slavery. So: when women have the right to abortion and contraception, they produce fewer slaves. They tend to match the size of their families to the resources available, to Mother Nature. They do not breed for the state’s slave army naturally; that sort of breeding tends to be forced upon them.
The Nazis also criminalized abortion. I know, it’s not very sporting to utter the N-word in the wake of Kerry’s defeat and the desire of the jubilating Reds and certain obsequious Blues for “healing.” But there’s no doubt that Hermann and Adolf rode the wave of Red Values (Rote Werte!), just like Karl and George II. In both Nazi Germany and Bush’s America, a militant, political Protestantism was and is used to try to destroy “evil” and dominate the world. Of course, the Nazis didn’t ultimately succeed, and neither will the Bushites. But our Blue Values place us rather close in spirit to the academies and theaters of Weimar Berlin that flourished in the 1920s, and look what happened to them when the German Christian Brownshirts stormed in to “clean” up the town.
It’s scary enough to make us Blue Staters spend hours drawing and redrawing maps featuring the United States of Canada, with a short front “leg” reaching into the Northeast and a longer hind leg picking up the Pacific. We Californians are threatening secession, and only half-joking when we do. We’re the beautiful, blue-eyed, battered wife, beaten black-and-blue by the redneck husband with a pistol under his pillow. Beaten and belittled! So enough already, we want a divorce! To add insult to injury, this battered wife here is paying the bills! That is, almost every one of the Blue States, led by California, sends more tax dollars to Washington than Washington sends back to us, meaning we hedonistic but hardworking Blues are subsidizing our Red church-hugging counterparts (so ignorant they can’t support themselves), even as they slap us around, spend our hard-earned money on stupid wars and other extravagances, and call us sluts and whores and bitches.
If a woman like California asked me for advice on what to do about a husband like, say, Mississippi, I’d counsel her to “Cut your losses and leave, honey.” And I must say, it’s tempting. But I think I’ll give it another year. Ever the optimist, I see a silver-blue lining in Electile Dysfunction ’04. It has made me, and many Blue Staters like me, stand just a little taller for our true Blue Values than we did during the height of the election season when the ABB mantra effectively shut us up. I’m true Blue, and I stand by my Blue Values with as much passion and conviction as Red Staters believe that the Virgin Birth was a fact of life, and Dubya is an honest man
And I believe that Jesus is on my side; after all, wasn’t his “best friend” Mary Magdalene? Mohammed, too; that harem thing isn’t so bad if the women are bi and like each other.
Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners, we are all Children of Sex. We may or may not be Children of God, but no matter what color our state, no matter whom we vote for or whether our votes are counted or stolen, or whether we’re of the majority of Americans that don’t bother to vote at all, no matter how many people we kill or liberate or touch or heal, no matter whom we hate or how much we love, we are ALL Children of SEX. Praise the Lord and the Lady.
Now we true Blues just need a few sexy, smart, media-friendly candidates to represent our values. Let’s start a Blue Party! Let’s mount our horses, and battle on, as indecent insurgents in our own land, doing what we can to protect our Enlightenment-inspired Constitution and hard-won political and sexual freedoms. Let us ride like Paul Revere, singing out to the world that not all Americans are Red with love for the murderous policies of George W. Bush. Let us conspire, preach, protest, party and inform. And let us not take up arms (except in self-defense or the defense of our loved ones), for that is against our values.
Suing for our rights is another matter. Let us cultivate the friendship of lawyers and/or sue for our rights in pro per. Actually, I sued the LAPD in pro per for infringement of my 4th amendment rights last year, and negotiated a very good financial settlement, as well as reached a more respectful understanding (more on that later). And let us fight-in the courts and in the media, in the streets and in the cornfields, in the boardrooms and in the bedrooms, in the churches and in the strip clubs–for what we believe. And let us continue to do so with pleasure, compassion, art and lots of lube, because these are things we value.
Can I hear an Amen? Can I hear an Awomen? All right then, Brothers & Sisters, Lovers & Sinners, I want you to roll up your sleeves and pull down your pants! There’s lots of work and play to be done, and less and less freedom to do it.
Note from Dr. Suzy: This column was extrapolated from my monologue “Bottoms Up For Blue Values,” broadcast live on November 6, 2004 on The Dr. SUSAN BLOCK Show.
Please Write Me! Send me your tired, your poor, your hate mail, love letters, commentary, photos, questions and confessions at email@example.com.
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK is a sex educator, cultural commentator, host of The Dr. SUSAN BLOCK Show and author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure. Her essay on John Ashcroft’s “breast fetish” is included in CounterPunch’s Serpents in the Garden: Liaisons with Sex and Culture. Visit her website at http://www.drsusanblock.com.
© November 10, 2004, Dr. SUSAN BLOCK. For reprint rights, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org