Christine O’Donnell, Cable News and Me
Christine O’Donnell, Republican nominee for senator from Delaware had a past life as a sex un-educator!
I watched a little of the primary returns on cable news channels that night, and you would have thought a finger puppet had won the republican primary in Delaware. I had missed what was so crazy about her win when I tuned in, and I kept waiting for the big reveal. What could it be? Tax fraud? Speaking in tongues? Multiple affairs? What?
Turns out, she said the word masturbation on MTV. That’s all they had on her. I felt a mighty shiver of identification. I am that person who talks about the self-love that ordinarily dare not speak its name. I talk about it all the time, to anyone who will listen. The coverage I watched showed that clip over and over, sneeringly inviting our judgment. How could anyone who talks publicly about masturbation go on to become a senator? Ha! She can’t! Ha!
It probably goes without saying that what I say about masturbation and what Christine O’Donnell says about it are in conflict. She says it’s cheating on your future husband and God, I say it’s crucial homework for a vital sex life with your current and future partners (may there be many!). But that night I saw an opening. I saw a woman talking about sex, saying the words of sex education, to condemn it, of course, but still saying the words. To the whole world. Are we seeing a new generation of public figure that came of age in a time newly open about sex, a time in which each side in the culture wars had to talk candidly and openly to make its case? Call me a dreamer, but we may be seeing the future, and matter-of-fact statement of one’s beliefs about sex might not disqualify you from public life. And the media might have to grow up and get a little less queasy about sex talk.
None of this is to say she would make a good senator – she wouldn’t. She’s a right-winger who wants to turn back the clock. But when she loses, I want it to be because her beliefs are soundly rejected by an enlightened electorate, not as a penalty for talking about sex to a national audience.
For another spin on Christine’s comments, check out Tom’s post at Your Tango.
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