Republicans, Rent Boys, and Rhetoric

Another outspoken advocate of Public Morals has been caught with a hand slipping into the cookie jar of Craig’s List sex.  Yes, he’s loudly anti-gay and, yes, he’s a Republican.

Now, I don’t for a second believe being a Republican has anything to do with this, any more than I believe being Catholic has anything to do with pedophilic priests.  I think we largely have the cart turned ’round the wrong way.  I think there is something about both organizations that attract such people, and while you can lay full blame on the Catholic Church for coddling these criminals, you can’t really blame them for creating them.  They came pre-flawed, as it were, and merely found a place to flourish.

There are theories.  Heavens, there are theories!

In this particular instance, I’ll go along with a combination of two.  One is the self-loathing of the deeply-closeted gay.  Publicly declaring it perversion, privately unable to keep it under control, and then doing the dumb bit of soliciting for sex via venues that have in the past proved their potential for public exposure.  It’s as if subconsciously they’re crying out “Help me!  Catch me so I can be humiliated into a cure!”  Of course, it doesn’t work that way, but who ever credited one’s subconscious with logic?

The other part is more sinister and has thousands of years of history to back it up and that has to do with the privileges of power.  The assumption that high status comes, automatically, with perks denied ordinary mortals.

Or should be denied them.  Which brings the perversion into it.  Not sexual perversion, but the perversion of presumed status.

See, the powerful have always had access to whatever they wanted, regardless of what the law says.  (Margaret Atwood chronicled this in The Handmaid’s Tale with the visit to the private party where the high mucky-mucks of Gilead get to party down with all the vices they have publicly denied everyone else.  Privilege.

Now I can get with the idea that status confers perks.  I can.  You work your ass off to achieve position, there should be some things open to you that ordinarily wouldn’t be.

But not of the illegal variety.  I’m talking about no waiting at the best restaurants, preferred seating at theaters, powerful people willing to take your call with no fuss, that sort of stuff.

Not crazy sex with rent boys or call girls, which (a) shouldn’t be illegal to begin with and (b) shouldn’t be denied as illicit and perverse.

But I think one of the things about power is this whole “access to the forbidden” aspect that makes what ought to be available to all something to be denied the general public, put in a box of legislative occlusion, and then indulged behind the most closed of doors, because getting away with it is half the thrill.

It seems the loudest proponents of so-called Family Values are the ones most often caught in such hypocrisies.  But if you look at it from the angle of privilege seeking to maintain something solely for itself, then you can look at all of history to make sense of it.  Popes and priests with mistresses, even while condemning the whole notion of adultery and fornication for the unwashed masses.  Aristocrats indulging their every whim, kings keeping courtesans, and let’s not even get into the misuse of young boys.

I do not say that such things never and do not continue to happen at every level of society, but no one pays attention to someone making minimum wage when they bitch about immorality even while they’re fucking their best friend’s wife or diddling their brother’s kids.  Except to put them in jail when they’re caught, at least in the latter instance.  Such people have no ability to effectively shield their behavior.

What to make of all these Republicans who keep getting caught in blatant hypocrisies?  Is it a Republican disease?  Surely not.  Democrats get outed in pecadilloes.  There is a significant difference, though, in the ideologies.  The Republicans have allied themselves to this whole puritanical anti-sex faction and it is often the worst of them in terms of oppressive legislation and rhetoric that get caught doing almost exactly what they condemn.  Not so much with the Democrats.  I don’t necessarily excuse the behavior, but there’s a considerable difference in the level of hypocrisy.

I think there is a fundamental pathology involved with people who so publicly seek to condemn sexual activities and an even deeper one in those who condemn what they themselves indulge.  There’s an obsession with sex that, contrary to the rhetoric, is far deeper than any norm one might acknowledge.  People who condemn it with such stridency are probably so obsessed with it that their public stance can only be seen as that of an addict who wants everyone else to take care of his problem for him.  If it is rendered unavailable to everyone, removed from access, then he (or she, but it seems a condition more of males than females—that may be just an aberration of reporting or maybe the women are more careful, and possibly less hypocritical) won’t be able to indulge, temptation removed.

This is making one’s incapacity to control one’s self everyone else’s problem.

Which is particularly annoying when it shouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

What I suspect some of these loudmouthed moralists would be should they be propositioned by a mature, healthy person who just wants a roll in the sack, is rendered impotent.  Normal consensual sex?  How dare you suggest such a thing!  I think without the flavor of the illicit (and how much better if it were also illegal) it would be…threatening.  There’s no power to wield, this person is here willingly, there’s no way to guarantee control.  And it would be done with a presumption that it’s—gasp!—okay.

I’m remembering Jim Bakker, whose impropriety now is fading into the mists of ancient history, but as head of the PTL indulged himself regularly, but (apparently, and at least in one instance) through the use of ruffies or their equivalent.  When Jessica Hahn, one of his parishioners, dropped the dime on him with the full story, two things happened that I found interesting.  First, all Bakker’s followers blamed Hahn, even though she had been drugged.  Secondly, Hahn apparently discovered that she couldn’t live with the hypocrisy—she liked sex and doing it under the cloak of sinful, illicit ignominy just didn’t play.  (What she subsequently did with her career may be of questionable taste, but she never apologized for it or tried to make herself out to be anything other than herself.)  But as a by-product of the first thing, Bakker was able to receive a public “cleansing” by admitting his sins and “being forgiven”, which I now believe added a layer of thrill.  You can’t experience that thrill if you don’t do anything wrong, so…

Run down the line of such preachers and you see the same pathology as I described with these moralizing politicians. The ultimate was Jimmy Swaggart, whose weeping performance before his followers was disturbing on so many levels—but if seen as part of the thrill may make perfect sense.

I’m not sure the genie will ever be put back in the bottle, and for that I’m glad.  But these folks keep trying.  Unless sex is dirty, I’m guessing, it just isn’t as much fun.

Nor is it a perk.  If everyone can do it, without guilt, freely and consensually, where’s the special privileges for becoming powerful?

I think we would all do well to stop voting for people who run for office on any kind of sexual morality platform.  Public health is different, but these folks aren’t combining the two.  If anything they’re making it worse, with their jihad against contraception and this nonsensical abstinence only education, which has been repeatedly shown to not work.  They are doing the country a disservice.

Besides, it’s getting boring.  Utterly predictable, and as boring as the evolution/creationism debate.  Which, oddly enough, the same people seem to be involved in…