Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Politics of Unreality

I'm amazed at how the right wing in America see problems where there are none and refuse to see problems where they do exist. In the culture wars they are bitter at the attempts to find social solutions while they hold up their religious "solutions" as an exemplar without noticing how faulty and wrong-headed these "solutions" are. Here is a bit from a piece by Max Blumenthal. I've bolded the part that caught my eye:
Palin’s daughter’s drama caught vividly a culture of personal crisis that defines so many evangelical communities across the country. That culture is described in a landmark congressionally funded study of adolescent behavior, Add Health, revealing that white evangelical women like Bristol Palin lose their virginity, on average, at age 16 — earlier, that is, than any group except black Protestants.

Another recent study by sociologists Peter Bearman and Hannah Bruckner notes that over half of evangelical girls who have pledged to maintain their virginity until marriage wind up having sex before marriage, and with a man other than their future husband. Bearman and Bruckner also disclose that communities with the highest population of girls who attend so-called purity balls, where they vow chastity until marriage before their fathers in a prom-like religious ceremony, also have some of the country’s highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. In Lubbock, Texas, where abstinence education has been mandated since 1995, the rate of gonorrhea is now double the national average, while teen pregnancy has spiked to the highest levels in the state.

“So many families deal with the same issues Sarah Palin is dealing with, so we really can relate to what she is going through,” Grace Van Diest, a middle-aged Alaskan delegate from Wasilla, told me on the floor of the 2008 Republican National Convention. Van Diest then described how each of her daughters went on “a date with their dad” to discuss their pledge to “keep themselves pure until marriage.”
This hypocrisy over sexuality and sex education is disgusting. But this same attitude marks the right's venomous rejection of health care. They worry about non-issues like "death panels" while the real issue is that the US spends almost twice per capita as any other developed nation on health care while the statistics show that actual health delivery is below that of any other developed nation. In short the health system is dysfunctional. Just like the issue of sex and family is dysfunctional in the US. But the supporters of Sarah Palin are fanatics and refuse to acknowledge facts that stare them in the face.

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