Originally published in Blaine, Washington's Northern Light, in response to a letter to the editor calling for the removal of an adult bookstore in the area.
Politics (as well as history) really does make strange bedfellows.
This much was clear to me when I read Debbie S.'s impassioned letter to the editor last week, where she enthusiastically points out that if "Rudolph Guliani can get rid of all but two 'adult entertainment' establishments in New York City by rezoning, then we as a community can certainly rid ourselves of one." It is interesting to note that Rudolph Guliani was less vigilant about having his talented actress-wife, Donna Hanover, lend her services (portraying Ruth Carter Stapleton) to Hollywood's porno-apologia, The People vs. Larry Flynt. [Since I wrote this, Donna Hanover has filed for divorce from His Honor over his infidelity. So much for political grandstanding in the name of "morality."] Nonetheless, by her own words, S. "does not believe that when our founding fathers instituted the documents that make this country the great organization that it is, that they had any intention of protecting the perverseness, filth, and human degradation surrounding pornography." Perhaps, and I often wonder if the founding fathers ever had any intention of letting the second amendment become the basis of a nihilistic culture whereby children (not to mention adults) play with AK-47's and regard human lives with no more feeling than most of us regard mosquito lives. Personally, I would rather be hit by a copy of Hustler than a bullet, but I admit to a bias in preferring some amendments over others. And considering that the founding fathers sanctioned slavery, one can legitimately question, especially if you are African-American, how deeply they worried about "human degradation."
Or more specifically, how infallible were the minds of our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson did not foresee Hustler or this year's spate of schoolyard massacres, and I suspect he would have been traumatized if he had. But both have been the ultimate fruition of the first two Bills of Rights. The fact is that while Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton could be called geniuses, they were not gods, but all too human. It is high time we realized that we cannot continue to pretend that a code developed by men to cope with struggles relevant to the 18th century should be the sole basis of our laws today.
Would I like to see pornography banned? No. It is indeed often degrading, but Debbie S., being all too human herself, has no moral right to determine what other adult human beings can or cannot look at or read. Would I like to see private gun ownership banned? Perhaps. But as previous arguments defending racial segregation in the name of "state's rights" demonstrated, sanctimonious blather about "the founding fathers" rings hollow both as argumentative logic and morality.