POST-MORTEMS II: HOW JANET JACKSON AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE HELPED ELECT BUSH
File this one under the "better late than never" department.
Pundits and television commentators, like ABC's Peter Jennings and NBC's Katie Couric, are surprised at the role "moral values" played in re-electing George W. Bush. Of the Bush supporters, some 81 percent said moral values mattered most in their voting decision, according to an Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International exit poll conducted for Associated Press.
When asked his thoughts on the phenomenon, Chris Matthews of the political talk show, "Hardball," remarked that people in the heartland are more apt to be religious, and that such folks are "not analytical" but "faithful" (i.e., "faith-filled" in the context of his statement). The gist of Matthews' post-mortem was that religious individuals tend not to think logically or critically, to evaluate information, or to be particularly learned or sophisticated. Instead, implies Matthews, they are simple-minded, trusting folks who (get this!) "simply LOVE George W. Bush. They love him!" he emphasized.
Well, I am not so sure that the so-called trusting and faithful actually love George W. Bush. They did, however, twist his arm to come up with something principled to say on issues like same-sex "marriage," partial-birth abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and a handful of other social issues the President would just as soon not have dealt with, especially on the campaign trail.
But Karl Rove, who is paid to sense which way the wind is blowing, must have been paying attention to the fallout from last January's SuperBowl halftime show; he decided around that time that what is left of the truly conservative base of the Republican Party might be worth listening to, after all. Rove no doubt surmised that it could be a bad business if that solid, conservative base did not go to the polls on November 2nd.
Which suddenly gave new meaning to the term "choice": George W. Bush was left in the unenviable position of having to decide whether to chose to "offend" the Log Cabin Republicans, the feminist Republicans, and the atheist Republicans (yes, there are a few of those, too) by taking a virtuous stand, or to "pull a Richard Nixon" (circa 1960) by saying, essentially, "I agree with Mr. Kerry" on any issues perceived as religiously based. Had he done the latter, Mr. Bush would have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Instead, he turned the tables on his opponent by forcing the Senator to reveal a consensus-driven mentality on moral issues, which effectively turned off many would-be supporters.
Even so, it took just about forever for the President to come out forcefully against the concept of either same-sex "marriage" or "civil unions." He avoided the embryonic stem-cell issue for as long as he could, and he worried that the abortion topic, no matter what stand he took, would alienate large chunks of the female vote. This probably says less about the President than it does about fear of the leftist media's manipulation and control (remember the so-called "gender gap"?), but he dawdled, nevertheless.
In the end, President Bush said, most likely, what he actually believes, and hoped that Rove was right.
The question on the pundits' minds the "morning after," of course, was why did the American people give Bill Clinton, a shameless philanderer, a free pass, and then turn around four years down the road and make moral and social issues the keys to the palace. I mean, if voters were going make those pesky moral values an issue, wouldn't they have done so during the Bush-Gore election of 2000?
Actually, moral issues may well have been a factor in the closeness of that election. But it was ignored. In the aftermath of the Campaign 2000 fight for the White House, some quarters reflected that the upstanding, church-going bloc was largely sidelined. The only thing the President ever said that carried so much as a hint of "ethics" or "morals" in the 2000 campaign was that he would "restore dignity to the White House." That was supposed to satisfy the "faithful" who, presumably, had nowhere else to go but to the Republican Party.
But many of the "faithful" did, in fact, go someplace else. They stayed home.
I believe what made the difference this election year was, ironically, the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake debacle at the 2004 SuperBowl XXXVIII halftime show. One could make a convincing argument that it was the final straw for many families, who saw the "performance," as it were, as a continuation of long-standing, in-your-face insults to parents and other decent citizens who pay the bulk of the bills and are tired of seeing smut every time they turn on the television. Finally, it dawned on parents, for example, that no matter how hard they try, no matter how much "quality time" they spend with their children, no matter how "involved" they are with their schools and communities, their kids still are steeped in filth, until and unless parents themselves decide to put a stop to it.
Mothers today are truly fed up with their pre-teen girls trying to look like strumpet-in-chief, Britney Spears. Face it: The girl can barely carry a tune, her elocution is terrible, and her "songs" have almost no melody, not even the few she has attempted to resurrect from the past. Boomer grandmothers, who might still reflect rather fondly on the clever, risqué banter in the late Peter Sellers' films, are not similarly impressed with the Austin Powers doll that squawk "Are you horny, Baby?" when their grandchild picks it up from a toy store shelf. Fathers are annoyed at having to explain to their youngsters why "oral sex is really sex," and parents have been stunned to discover that their young teenagers are coming home from slumber parties with incurable venereal diseases of the mouth.
Such is the "legacy" of Bill Clinton and his infamous sidekick, Jocelyn Elders, the surgeon-general who finally grossed out enough people with her advice on masturbation that she got replaced.
One male friend I have known since childhood, who is a liberal, confided to me last year: "You know, as I get older I find myself increasingly conservative and traditional."
A lot of people are joining him, especially those with children and grandchildren.
Another acquaintance, whom I first met when I was a speaker in Michigan, tells me that her daughter recently had to pull her own child out of "Family Education" due to a series of videos being shown. She felt they were wholly inappropriate for a 12-year old and gave pre-teens far more information than they were ready for. But that was only the beginning. Their teacher actually walked the class into a drug store and showed them where to find the condoms and other over-the-counter birth control products!
What was this supposed to be, a field trip?
This acquaintance then recounted a required-reading list of books that I decided to take a look at. If you think "Heather Has Two Mommies" is bad, try Robie H. Harris' It's So Amazing and It's Perfectly Normal, for 5th, 6th, and 7th graders, teaching pupils not merely about sex but how to have sex, very variation of sex, complete with cartoon characters depicting coital positions and erections. Or how about "It's Okay to be Gay."
Then (my favorite outrage) from the State of Georgia: a sex ed board game played with "sperm cards," like Parcheesi!
The list of absurdities goes on, right down to children's entertainment, which includes violent and sex-soaked cartoons; commercials that sell sex, foul language and delinquency along with their product; and teen magazines that feature an endless parade of perversions: intimate surveys to mail in, pornographic advice columns, gay clubs to join, and so on.
Another much-overlooked message was that those who voted for the ban on same-sex "marriage" in eleven states did not want to talk to pollsters about it upon exit, according to two television commentators. Well, I wouldn't either! The subject is too ridiculous to talk about. How absurd that the American people are even engaged in such a discussion! And how inappropriate, that children should have to listen to it.
Indeed, even if the topic were not homosexual "marriage" per se, sex is an intensely private matter. It is unnatural for people to want to "compare" performance, as if sex were a sporting event. Just how many folks, after all, would wear a sign on their back announcing "heterosexual" or "on-the-make"?
The entertainment industry has convinced us that "everyone" wants to view blood, vomit, nudity, copulation, and sexual paraphernalia. As the renowned Dr. Melvin Anchell so aptly put it in his book, Sex and Insanity: Most people would immediately become impotent or frigid if they thought they personally were on display. Just as one automatically closes the door when using the rest room or taking a bath, most couples want to shut the world out of their bedroom when they are making love. They are uncomfortable around people who showcase themselves in that way. The thought of participating in public orgies does not make the average person feel secure or relaxed; yet a nonstop spectacle of public sexual imagery is being foisted onto our kids at ever-younger ages, presumably to cure them of prudishness.
Many Baby Boomers who once may have dabbled in Woodstock's "free-love," "me-first" mindset, are now parents and grandparents themselves. They don't like what they see. They're not witnessing the "social conscience" of their misspent youth but, rather, abject debauchery, depravity and self-indulgence. The Kerry campaign helped crystallize that fact for viewing audiences when he invited darlings of the Hollywood set like Eminem, Cher, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, and Jennifer Aniston to help him elect persuade the electorate to vote for him.
Perhaps Mr. Kerry and his "handlers," like Bill Clinton, thought that a gaggle of the Hollywood elite would sway Mr. and Mrs. Average. But a significant number of those people who Chris Matthews believes "don't think analytically" had no trouble evaluating the hot-shots they saw primping, preening, and pontificating at Kerry's party. What they saw was a vain, vulgar, and toxic culture that exploits the young while purporting to be spokespersons for the "common man." Viewers decided they had about as much in common with Eminem, Cher, "P. Diddy," and Jennifer as they did with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
Jackson and Timberlake may have done America a favor. They shocked the voting population into awareness of where it was really headed, whether the Security Alert is yellow, orange or red.
President Bush, take notes.
© 2004 Beverly Eakman - All Rights
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Beverly Eakman is an Educator, 9 years: 1968-1974, 1979-1981. Specialties: English and Literature.
Science Editor, Technical Writer and Editor-in-Chief of official newspaper, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1974-1979. Technical piece, "David, the Bubble Baby," picked up by popular press and turned into a movie starring John Travolta.
Chief speech writer, National Council for Better Education, 1984-1986; for the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Commission on the Bicentennial of the US Constitution, 1986-1987; for the Voice of America Director, 1987-1989; and for U.S. Department of Justice, Gerald R. Regier, 1991-1993.
Author: 3 books on education and data-trafficking
since 1991, including the internationally acclaimed Cloning
of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education. Executive
Director, National Education Consortium. Website: BeverlyE.com
why did the American people give Bill Clinton, a shameless philanderer, a free pass, and then turn around four years down the road and make moral and social issues the keys to the palace. I mean, if voters were going make those pesky moral values an issue, wouldn't they have done so during the Bush-Gore election of 2000?