I know little, and care even less, about party politics. This is partly due to the fact that the subject is a bore, but mostly because I find it appallingly, unbearably irritating to reflect upon. I readily cop to being determinedly cynical about nearly everyone who wants to win my approval to gain power over me, and this (admittedly) broad brush of all-inclusive misanthropy extends to most politicians and the mass movements they instigate or manipulate to their advantage.
Thus, I really have no idea if Christine O'Donnell -- the honey from Delaware who's currently sweetening the Delaware Tea Party's teapot, but leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many others -- is fit for the Senate. She may well be a loopy and flaky chick who's hopelessly out of her depth, as her critics on both the Right and the Left have alleged, or at least implied.
What I do find bizarre, however, is that the primary issue O'Donnell's critics are using against her so far is her declared status as a non-masturbator.
In case you hadn't heard by now, it seems that this now 41-year old bachelorette was once featured in an MTV mini-documentary in the mid-90s, in which she spoke on behalf of a group of twentysomething evangelical Christians promoting abstinence and sexual purity. In this feature, the young O'Donnell -- a big-haired, perpetually smiling girl, swaying to contemporary praise music and exuding an oddly conspicuous sensuality -- discusses the notion of "lust in your heart," forbidden in the Gospel, and applies it towards self-stimulation, reaching certain conclusions. "You can't masturbate without lust," she half-giggles, a reasonable enough inference to draw.
Maybe it's all a bit embarrassing, and unbecoming ... but really? This testimony is Exhibit A in the case for why this woman is unfit for public office?
I mean, sure ... Congress is without question a bunch of wankers who regularly engage in a massive circle-jerk, but isn't there room for someone who's a little different in this regard? Wouldn't a change from the norm even be a bit refreshing? Couldn't we stand to have a little less pud-pulling from our elected leaders?
Prized and precious double entendres aside, exactly how is O'Donnell's attitude towards chicken-choking (at least as articulated 15 years ago) all that outrageous or troubling? If you're an avid self-starter yourself, and you frequently take matters into your own hands, so to speak, do you honestly think Senator O'Donnell will put a stop to all of your fun? Do you truly fear that she'll work to pass some kind of draconian injunction requiring all citizens to keep their palms in sight of the authorities at all times? Will she order a SWAT team to break down your bathroom door if you spend too much time in the shower?
I mean, just how paranoid are you?
We often hear about how sexually repressed Americans are, how we need to become a more "sex-positive" culture, but does the ardent crusade against this candidate for her proclivity to keep aloof from her own vagina not tend to suggest otherwise? Does it not, in fact, perhaps show that, far from being a bunch of prudish, puritanical "slut-shaming" types, we are in fact
all-too likely to castigate a non-sluttish, likely virginal woman as a freakish and dangerous fanatic?
Honestly, Miss O'Donnell's notions of the implications of "lust in one's heart" as expressed in the MTV segment in question, are part of a mainstream and perfectly consistent sexual ethic sincerely held by many Americans who subscribe to Christianity and other faiths. If her views aren't yours ... fine. But really, what of it? Why be a jerk about it? Where do you get off, anyway? There's not the rub. (Yes, the double-entendre train continues to run full-steam ... can you blame me?)
And now, to top it all off, there's this "witchcraft" business, which, according to Karl Rove and others, is a very probable deal-breaker with much of the voting public of Delaware. It seems that during her troubled teenage spiritual journey, Miss O'Donnell once flirted with the dark arts before embaracing Christianity. Please tell me, Mr. Rove -- crafty genius that you supposedly are -- how does this present a problem, exactly?
Conservative, religious voters -- Miss O'Donnell's base -- undersand that many a saint was a sinner prior to hearing the call of God and repenting. This is the standard narrative of the Prodigal Son; there are numerous characters in the Bible whose lives follow this exact same trajectory, the most famous being Paul, writer of much of the New Testament, who hunted
Christians and put them to death before seeing his vision on the road to Damascus.
In his contiunal harping on O'Donnell's Wiccan dabblings, in fact, Rove displays very little political savvy or common sense. In fact, he hardly seems to grasp the essence of the mindset of the typical evangelical Christian voter, for whom redemption stories are mother's milk. One almost suspects a pesonal vendetta is the real reason he continues to snipe impotently at his party's candidate, doing his damndest to orchestrate her demise.
Please do not misunderstand: I most decidedly am not endorsing Miss O'Donnell's candidacy. I don't endorse candidacies as a general principle, for reasons already given. There may well be many good reasons why her election in the primary was an unmitigated calamity. It's just that her status as a non-masturbating former witch doesn't strike me as terribly
germane, in any way, to anything.
The fact that her enemies have led their attacks by calling attention to these "issues" says many more unappetizing things about the political process, and the likely proclivities of the ever-fickle voting public, than it does about Christie O'Donnell's Senate bid. It's yet more dispiriting evidence that the essence of our democracy is in truth little more than sheer wankery.