AFTERWORD Expose Yourself to Politics BY DAVID SCHULTZ SEX AND POLITICS. On the pretense of examining the moral character of public figures, America is obsessed with the pri vate sexual behavior of its politicians. Perhaps this preoccupation first started with rumors about J.F.K and Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps it started with Jimmy Carter lusting in his heart in the pages Of Playboy back in 1976, or with Gary Hart, Donna Rice and the good ship Monkey Business in 1988. Regardless of when it started, newspaper reporters, the supermarket tabloids and evening news anchors now seem obsessed with finding who our politicians are sleeping with and how many times they did it. There is Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers, Bob Kerrey and Debra Winger, and, let us not forget, Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt. To many, this sleeping around is political taboo, but among my cruder male friends, sleeping with any of these women is certainly a vote in the candidates’ favor. While the media and the public has pronounced the private behavior of candidates to be of public importance, no one has asked about the character or private sexual behavior of the American voter. Maybe candidates should consider the private actions of voters prior to asking for their vote. Recent data from the National Opinion tidbits that might illuminate connections between the voting and sexual behavior of Americans. Perhaps it is this information that politicians should consider when they are out campaigning. For example, of those who voted in 1988, 58 percent claim they saw an X-rated movie in the previous year. For those who did not see such a movie in the previous year, 69 percent voted in 1988. A difference of 11 percent between those viewing and those not viewing a dirty movie suggests interesting questions about what some people were doing on election day in 1988 and how viewing smut relates to low voter turnout. Surprisingly, among the dirty-movie crowd, 57.5 percent voted for George Bush, while a mere 41 percent supported Michael Dukakis. Also, of those who voted for Bush, 59 percent thought sexual materials provided an outlet for bottled-up impulses; among those supporting Dukakis, a mere 39 percent. One wonders David Schultz is a professor of political science at Trinity University in San Antonio. GAIL WOODS how these numbers are related and whether sexual materials provide an outlet for political Justice Clarence Thomas voted in 1988. Does all this suggest that viewing smut is a threat to political parties and elections? NORC data show that 43.5 percent of those who consider themselves Democrats have recently seen a dirty movie, while 45 percent of Democrats also see pornography as an outlet for bottledup impulses. Possibly the inability of Democrats to win the White House can be deduced from these facts. But don’t fret: 41.4 percent of those who associate themselves with the Republican Party have recently seen a dirty movie and 43 percent of the Republicans polled see pornography as an outlet. Moreover, among those who consider themselves members of the Grand Old Party, 40 percent have had three sexual partners in the last year. Sex preoccupies voters in both parties. Another interesting statistic in the NORC data is that among those who said that they had no sexual partners in the last year, 74.3 percent voted in 1988. Of those with one sexual partner, 68.8 percent voted; with two or more partners, a mere 55 percent voted. Clearly those who were more sexually active had better things to do on election ,day.’ Bush generally did bet ter than Dukakis among those who had zero, one, or three partners, while Dukakis bested Bush among those with two or four partners. Clearly the former governor of Massachusetts was the choice of voters with even numbers of sexual partners. Explaining why this is so will be the responsibility of political scientists who do voting studies, and of the Democratic Party as it tries to understand who its base constituency is. Now if we consider those highly sexually percent voted for Bush while a mere 31.5 percent voted for Dukakis, and we are left wondering how these people had time to vote, let alone fill out an NORC survey of more than 500 questions. What might all this data suggest to candidates who contemplate running for office? First, abstinence and voting seem to go hand in hand. Candidates might wish to direct their message toward celibates. Additionally the dirty-movie voting bloc also deserves targeting \(Bush might not be suitable for viewing during family viewing hours. Beyond specific candidate appeal, smut and sex seem to be distracting voters and some steps need to be taken: To prevent voters from being distracted by dirty movies on election day, all adult movie theaters and video rentals should be closed. This proposal is similar to the laws that once kept bars closed on election day. Or, voting booths might be relocated to adult movie theaters and VCR rentals. Better yet, voting booths could be placed in private movie stalls in the porno-movie theaters. The proceedings from the peep shows could be part of the public financing for presidential elections. Overall, voter registration laws should be relaxed to make it easier for the sexually active to vote. Sex education should be removed from high school health and science classes and placed instead in civics and social studies departments. Encouraging abstinence and telling students to just say no could be given a patriotic theme “No to sex means yes to democracy.” Given what the NORC data suggest, cleansing the moral character of Americans might just be what is needed to vitalize American democracy. After all, how can we expect good candidates to ask for our vote if we ourselves are so flawed in character. Perhaps Jimmy Carter was right: A nation deserves leaders as good as its people. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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