THE MYTH OF ABSTINENCE
Speaking to a young woman who asked a question about sex education, Obama said, "You, as a peer, can have enormous power over your age cohort but you’ve got to have some support from the schools. You certainly should not have to be fighting each and every instance by providing accurate information outside of the classroom because inside the classroom the only thing that can be talked about is abstinence."Senator Obama is repeating the mythical abstinence-only meme, and placing himself firmly in the camp opposing it. Fine, I'm opposed to dragons eating maidens and I will never sway in my stalwart opposition to teleportation devices being used to create evil twins.
"Keep in mind: I honor and respect young people who choose to delay sexual activity," Obama continued. "I’ve got two daughters, and I want them to understand that sex is not something casual. That's something that we definitely want to communicate and should be part of any curriculum. But we also know that when the statistics tell us that nearly half of 15 to 19 year olds are engaging in sexual activity, that for us to leave them in ignorance is potentially consigning them to illness, pregnancy, poverty, and in some cases, death."
If you look more closely at what he said here though, this is a strange reversal; instead of worrying about being respected if you sleep around, Senator Obama expresses that he will still respect for those who don't. That's like saying you respect people who choose to not kick random strangers in the knee - good for you! Not that there's anything wrong with it of course. Senator Obama seems to be concerned about teenage pregnancy, but his approach is not to speak out and try to be a leader to oppose sexual activity among teens, not to call for abstinence and restraint, not to attempt to lift children above their society and teenage compulsions. It's to pat the heads of those who don't care to do so. Good boy, now run out and play, with Sally, if you choose, but I'll respect you if you don't.
But that's not the money quote here. Senator Obama has actually said something tangible about an issue other than the war, and it has gotten him into some hot water. His statement?
"I remember Alan Keyes . . . I remember him using this in his campaign against me," Obama said in reference to the conservative firebrand who ran against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Sex education for kindergarteners had become an issue in his race against Keyes because of Obama’s work on the issue as chairman of the health committee in the Illinois state Senate.Nice mockery of a minister and fellow politician, Senator Obama. Meanwhile, what, precisely is age-appropriate sex ed for children in the age range of 4-5? Senator Obama has so far declined to answer, other than a general statement by his staff that the Senator...
"'Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners,'" said Obama mimicking Keyes' distinctive style of speech. "Which -- I didn’t know what to tell him (laughter)."
"But it’s the right thing to do," Obama continued, "to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools."
"does not support teaching explicit sex education to children in kindergarten. . . The legislation in question was a state Senate measure last year that aimed to update Illinois' sex education standards with 'medically accurate' information . . . 'Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,' Obama said. 'If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' that providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'"Without a real tangible statement about what he means, we're left scratching our heads. Alan Keyes pointed this out because it's a source of concern and dismay for many, if not most parents, and Senator Obama isn't really filling in the gaps - a characteristic feature of his campaign so far. The less you say, the less you upset people. Commenters at Political Radar responded:
this reminds me of a south park episode...i remember learning the differences in anatomy in preschool...so in kindergarten does it need to go any further than that? if one cannot come up with details of the proposed "age appropriate" sex education for kindergartners..then it becomes difficult to decide which side of the fence to be on.Actually Laura, yes, I am. Here's why: when I was 5 I didn't even really notice that girls were different than boys. I didn't particularly care where babies came from, nor did I have to know any of this. If I did, I could ask my parents, who would with a vastly greater understanding of my intellectual capacity and experience, be able to craft an appropriate response.
Am I the only one who thinks that sex education for kids in kindergarten is crazy? I respect Obama, but I have to disagree with him. Before puberty, what purpose could sex education serve? At what point does teaching sex education to pre-pubescent kids become absurd? Should we teach sex education to children who cannot walk or talk? There is nothing appropriate about this. The fact that he needs to re-explain himself on this issue, should have been a hint that this idea is half-baked. This is a dumb position for Obama to take. Good luck on formulating a curriculum. Let kindergarten kids be curious. Don't indoctrinate them.
-by Sean O'Brien
oh the horror!! sex education!! bring back the abusive nuns who would lash our pupils hands into bloody pulps for even asking!! the more you lie to the youth about sex, they more they will explore and figure it out on their own, at younger and younger ages. GROW UP AMERICA, AND EDUCATE YOUR KIDS, NOT INDOCTRINATE THEM.
J...I think it's hard to lie about sex when children don't ask about it at that age. Of all the things that can be taught in a limited school day, sex ed in kindergarten doesn't seem that necessary...if this is Mr. Obama's solution to decreasing teen pregnancy rates (which are already at record lows) than I think his urban agenda may have some problems.
Reminds me of Kindergarden Cop:
"Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina."
And THAT IS sex ed in kindergarden.
-by Justa Thought
Funny thing about all the opposition to abstinence based education- the most recent meta-study- which examined programs of abstinence and non-abstinence based sex ed programs in both suburban and inner city schools - found that the kids in ALL groups had the same rate of knowledge, condom use, STD diagnosis rate, pregnancy rate- and SO DID the kids who got NO SEX ED IN SCHOOL !
So when does THAT hit the headlines so we can stop wasting money on what parents should be doing, and start buying math books ???
Mr. Obama supports state legislation with "opt-out" provisions. Why, as a parent, should I have to intervene to protect my children from idealogues? (See comment from "J") Why don't government schools adopt "Opt-in" provisions for the parents who shirk the responsibility of providing the moral base upon which their children will stand? I have no objection (other than having to pay for it) to a father or mother wanting government indoctrination for his or her child, but I have major objections to anyone desiring government indoctrination for my child. Why do people fear those of us who desire liberty?
Okay guys, we're not talking about teaching children the intricacies of male-female sexual relations, just that there is a difference between male and female anatomy and that babies come from a mother's body, not some mythical creature. I can't believe anybody, even those opposed to Obama for other reasons, can really find fault with this. Are you opposed to general health information for this age group?
-by Laura Miller
But, but, what if your parents are idiots or terrible at teaching! Well, what if your school is the same? Parents are the ones responsible for these children, and if a 6 year old doesn't know that babies come from mommy's tummy I somehow suspect he'll be able to get along just fine in life for a few more years.
One of the commenters brought up the line from Kindergarten Cop, with the little tiny boy baffling Arnold Schwarzenegger's hulking cop with the line about boys and girls. It was funny, it was cute, and you know why? Because the little guy had no clue what he was talking about, he didn't understand why this mattered or what exactly it meant. It worked because at that age the information was irrelevant and out of place.
Kindergarten is giving the most basic of the basics to children, teaching them the names of colors and what the letters of the alphabet are. This is not even remotely beginning to be a reasonable statement at any possible level. He didn't say "we should teach kindergarden kids basic, minimal biological facts" which still is an odd place for that age for teachers to be, but he said Sex education which is a pretty specific area of teaching.
This is just wierd and wrong, but you'll note that no matter what anyone says, no matter how outrageous, goofy, or bizarre it is, you will find someone who will defend or support it, especially in politics. Because in politics, the game is about winning and power, so truth, dignity, and honor go by the wayside. Is Senator Obama wrong and extreme here? Sure, but he's our guy so we support him anyway, and besides those crazy wingnuts are all upset by it so it must be OK!
It's this argument by opposition that has gotten our country tied into knots. Take any big issue of the day and you'll find far too many people arguing their position not because they feel passionately or are well informed about it, but simply because they don't like the people on the other side. Stem cells - well Dr Dobson is opposed to them so they must be a good idea! Senator Clinton is for energy independence? Then it must be wrong!
This is just idiocy, it's a childish foot-stamping tantrum, the kind of brainless mob-forming lunacy that led to lynching parties, the Klan, and book burning Nazi rallies. We can do better than that.
This constant drumbeat opposing abstinence education by positioning it as if that means nothing but abstinence is taught is just annoying to me, and it reveals a troubling side of our culture and some politicians. What, exactly, is their agenda or concern here? What if we teach kids about sex and what is out there, and urge them not to have sex. What wrong happens, what bad takes place in that kind of atmosphere? Is this a kneejerk reaction against responsibility, virtue, and restraint? Is it guilty feelings about what they did when they were that age, a feeling that since they were sleeping around then they can't tell kids not to and besides it was fun, and who got hurt?
I don't understand the motivation of parents especially opposing the idea of telling kids that its wrong and bad to have sex before they are old enough and in a responsible relationship? If every single person on earth waited until marriage to have sex, would that not reduce the population, thus protecting our fragile earth from the cruel curse of humanity? I'm sorry if I'm a bit ranty today but this is just bizarre to me.