Farewell to T-Paw and Change.org

Where T-Paw Went Wrong

It’s been a week since Tim Pawlenty (known in the Republican hood as T-Paw) withdrew from the GOP Presidential race. There hasn’t been a heck of a lot of real analysis on his withdrawal. Let’s face it. Watching Pawlenty was a lot like watching paint dry. He was hardly a media darling. Still I’m surprised that I haven’t seen a good post-mortem on his campaign.

Maybe I just don’t understand GOP politics but I have the prescription that would still have Pawlenty in the race today. Very simply, target the right demographic. For reasons that totally befuddle me, Pawlenty decided to take on Michele Bachmann and go after her voting block. It doesn’t take a Sigmund Freud to figure out that Pawlenty with his vanilla demeanor was a rival of Mitt Romney, not Michele Bachmann. To put it a bit differently, there are two factions of  GOP candidates this season, the sensible and to varying degrees, the wild-ass crazy. Pawlenty, no matter how much he wanted to be the bad boy you don’t bring home to Mama, was in the sensible league with Romney and Huntsman. Pawlenty should have saved his money, like Mitt did, and waited for the right opportunity. Instead, he blew his entire chest on Iowa and to make matters worse, blew it on the Ames Straw Poll which everyone now knows is NO predictor of future victory.

But then, I’m not really sorry to see Tim go. Tim is, in a word, a punk. Call me old-fashioned but I find something wrong with a candidate who shrinks away from attacking the acknowledged front-runner (Romney) and instead goes full throttle against the only woman in the race. Tim’s lucky he ran out of money because if he hadn’t, he would eventually have had to man-up. I’m not sure T-Paw had the testosterone to run the race to the end.

Why I’m Through with Change.org

For over a year now, I’ve subscribed to e-mails from Change.org. Like a typical liberal, I was moved by the organization’s commitment to social justice. I didn’t keep track but I’m guessing I signed an online petition or two over the past few months. I must admit, as the months wore on, their e-mails didn’t so much move me to social indignation but rather depressed the heck out of me. I also had the sneaking suspicion that some of the folks for whom Change.org advocated didn’t really deserve the advocacy. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back came in the form of an article on the makers of “Sesame Street”, The Sesame Workshop (known as the Children’s Television Workshop back when I was a kid).

Apparently the folks at Sesame Workshop had to release a statement saying that they would not have the characters Bert and Ernie get married. Yes, you read that right. Some gang of absolute idiots had petitioned Sesame Workshop to have Bert and Ernie get married. Change.org facilitated the petition. The simple translation of Sesame Workshop’s very polite statement was “for goodness sake, these are PUPPETS! What the hell is wrong with you?”

Now apparently Change.org and the authors of the petition felt that in a time of high suicide rates among gay youngsters, having Bert and Ernie, who have roomed since they came on the scene in 1969, get married would send a message that being gay is ok. It would be in the vein of the “It Gets Better” campaign.

I propose that one way to make “it get better” is stop sexualizing children. I don’t doubt that gender preference is deeply ingrained and very possibly innate. That does not mean that such a preference needs to manifest between the ages of two and four (the demographic of “Sesame Street”). The notion that a four-year old is homosexual, or heterosexual for that matter, is to my mind patently ridiculous. The Sesame Workshop has stated that the friendship between Bert and Ernie teaches kids that very different kinds of people can be friends. That is sufficient in teaching tolerance to kids. If by some wild stretch of the imagination little Johnny says to his Mommy “I want to kiss a boy but I don’t think anyone will like me if I do”, Mommy can always say “people can still like you if you’re different. Look at Bert and Ernie. They’re different. They look different. They like different kinds of things. And they like each other a lot.” This lesson in tolerance can be given without having to tell a four-year old that Bert sticks his pee-pee in Ernie’s bum-bum.

Before everyone accuses me of being a homophobe, let me be perfectly clear. I believe consenting adults can do whatever the heck they want with each other and it’s nobody’s business but theirs. I also believe that two people who love each other, with a sexual component, should be allowed to marry in a civil ceremony if they so please, regardless of gender. However I draw the line at how we introduce children to sexual concepts. The notion of teaching a four-year old that Bert and Ernie are gay (and all that goes along with that) gets me as annoyed as the constant heterosexualization of minors that gets portrayed on the Disney Channel on a regular basis. Our kids should be worried about reading, writing and arithmetic and how to be kind and compassionate to their fellow human beings. They should not have to be worried about what to do with their penises and vaginas. Why can’t we let a four-year old be a four-year old? They’ll have plenty of opportunity to wrestle with sexual urges when they hit puberty.

Sometimes liberals have trouble picking their battles. Now that Change.org has shown such bad judgment in trying to turn a wonderful kid’s show into an episode of Dr. Ruth, they can continue their battles without me.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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