Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pornography: A Wedge Issue Helpful to Democrats?

The GOP has got abortion, gay marriage, and flag-burning (like it actually happens), among others, as wedge issues by which to attract support from voters whose interests do not otherwise coincide with the Republican agenda. The Democrats need a wedge issue of their own, argues Eric Sapp at Faithful Democrat, and he has one: Internet porn. There's actually a bill to go after Internet porn stalled in Congress, but . . .
Anyone figured out why this is a winner for us yet? You've got it, the Republican leadership has been holding up this legislation because they don't like the tax on business! It's hard to imagine a stance more counter to family values and anathema to religious voters than not protecting our children from internet porn because we don't want to tax the on-line porn industry. But that's the position the Rs have taken so far. The White House has also sided with the telecommunication companies and turned a deaf ear to evangelical Christian leaders who have pleaded with them to regulate streaming video on cell phones to prevent our phones from being spammed with streaming pornography. We all know what Jesus said about where one's treasure is, and since the R political machine is run on big-business and lobbyist money, it's no surprise that's where their heart is.

That is what makes this a perfect wedge issue. Even the most partisan evangelical has a deep-down fear that the Republicans really care more about helping corporations and the very rich than they do about the defending God and family. This forces religious partisans to face their biggest fears, and it clearly defines the Republican leadership as the hypocrites that they are. An added political benefit is that this is also an issue that appeals to women's groups since pornography generally promotes unhealthy gender roles, relationships, and body images.
Personally I've long thought that conservative Christians get a lot less from the Republicans than their tireless grass roots organization and campaigning for the GOP deserves. Republicans pay lip service to the Christian Right's agenda and then in practice pursue an economic agenda that actually hurts the individuals who comprise the Right, because with few exceptions these are people of modest means -- like me, come to think of it. So there's something to Eric Sapp's idea that conservative evangelicals aren't in utter thrall to the GOP. The problem, I suspect, is that too many Democrats at the top of the organizational food chain have written off conservative evangelicals, much as Republicans did the African American community until recent years.

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