The truth is not dishonorable
By Michael M. Bates
John McCain ran an ad criticizing Barack Obama for supporting sex education for kindergartners. The reaction of Obama and his media sycophants was so vociferous that you might have thought abortion had been curtailed. The ad was described as a total fabrication, swill, truly vile, and one of the sleaziest spots in history.
McCain lied. McCain is dishonorable. McCain is running a squalid campaign of bald-faced smears. That's what we read in the newspapers, saw on TV, and heard on the radio.
The truth is McCain's ad is accurate. Ah, say the Obamatons, it's false because Obama didn't sponsor the Illinois Senate bill in question. McCain's ad didn't assert he did.
Ah, say Barry's boosters, it's false because the measure never passed. McCain's ad didn't say that it had. It stated Obama voted for it, which he indisputably did.
Ah, say Obama supporters, it's false because parents could opt out of the sex education. Why should they have to? Would young children be stigmatized by not participating?
Ah, say Obama aficionados, it's false because the legislation required that the sex education be "age appropriate." Obama merely wanted to protect children by teaching them about inappropriate touching and perverts, they claim.
There are at least two problems with that contention. One is the bill itself, SB0099, which was introduced in 2003. Part of it says:
"Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV." So what precisely is "age appropriate" for a kindergartner to learn about the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV?
The bill as voted for by Obama also had sections deemed unsuitable deleted. One of these provided that, "Course material and instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage." Obviously, that had to go. Wouldn't want to frighten the tykes.
Another problem for Obama is how he explained his support of this bill in the past. In July of last year, MSNBC's First Read blog reported:
"Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells First Read: ‘You can teach a kid about what's appropriate and not appropriate to protect them from predators out there.' In addition, he issued a document showing that the Oregon Department of Education has guidelines for sex education for children in grades K-3 (which includes understanding the difference between a good touch and a bad touch), and that the Sexuality Information And Education Council of the United States has curriculum for those in kindergarten."
Since Obama's aide referred to those guidelines in explaining his boss's support, it's eminently reasonable to presume that, at a minimum, the candidate contemplated a program based at least generally on those guidelines.
So let's take a look at them. Before doing so, I must caution readers that some are explicit. Then again, according to Obama, it's information young children need to be taught.
Oregon's guidelines include understanding body parts, proper anatomical names, and stages in basic growth process; information on communicable/non-communicable diseases, the concept; and recognizing risk behaviors (sharing body fluids) and methods of prevention.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States for those ages 5 through 8 is more detailed. It lists the following "Developmental Messages:"
● Each body part has a correct name and a specific function.
● A person's genitals, reproductive organs, and genes determine whether the person is male or female.
● A boy/man has nipples, a penis, a scrotum, and testicles.
● A girl/woman has breasts, nipples, a vulva, a clitoris, a vagina, a uterus, and ovaries.
● Some sexual or reproductive organs, such as penises and vulvas, are external or on the outside of the body while others, such as ovaries and testicles, are internal or inside the body.
● Both boys and girls have body parts that feel good when touched.
Last year, Obama spoke to Planned Parenthood. Warming the crowd up with assurances that abortion is "one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country," he then mentioned that his opponent in the 2004 senatorial campaign had criticized him for wanting to teach sex education to kindergartners. Obama said, "I didn't know what to tell him.But it's the right thing to do."
Some Americans don't agree. Mitt Romney was correct when he said, "my view is that the amount of sex education which is appropriate in kindergarten is absolutely zero."
John McCain is another American challenging the notion of sex education for kindergartners. It's a legitimate campaign issue and feigned outrage and all the denials in the world won't change Obama's vote in the Illinois Senate or the guidelines his staff cited in way of clarification.
The sheer vitriol with which McCain and Sarah Palin are attacked is confirmation of how apprehensive Obama and minions are. With weeks to go before Election Day, they have already reached frenetic desperation.
This Mike Bates column appeared in the September 18, 2008 Reporter Newspapers.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!