Prosecute the torture.

July 29, 2005

...And Ricky Santorum as "The Beaver"

Republican politicians often like to hearken back to some mythical American past that was only reality in the world of pre-Beatles sitcoms as to how we should all live our lives now. In their world view: Mom stays home and vacuums in her pearls, Dad heads out to his 9-5 job doing some unspecified well-paying work, and the little kiddy's biggest problem is losing the $1.75 he was given to get a haircut before the Christmas pageant.

And, yes, it is a Christmas pageant because the entire town all seems to go to the same church with the big white cross on the white steeple. The shows may have been black and white, but all the people were inevitably all white.


The reality of course is that even back in the period that a show like Leave It To Beaver originally aired -- 1957 - 1963 -- teens got pregnant, women had (back alley) abortions, people drove drunk after four martini lunches, priests (and other authority figures) sexually abused kids, spouses beat the hell out of each other, women with children worked (including Rick Santorum's own working Mom), and there were gay bars (where patrons could count on routine raids by the cops). The difference is that you just didn't mention any of this in polite company (including the media).

What changed in society was a refusal to continue to sweep everything under the rug. "Negroes" protested for their rights, and the damn was broken: Gays, women, students, the disabled, etc., all fought to be seen and heard and participate fully in society.

Whereas Sen. Santorum laments that priests sexually abused children because of the prevalence of liberal attitudes, the truth is it was liberal attitudes that allowed the situation to come to light. Back in the day, you couldn't even print the word "rape" in a family newspaper.

It was liberals like Phil Donahue and Oprah who made it all right to say out loud that you were abused as a child which let the viewer at home know that they were not alone which led to survivors groups which led to the kinds of class action suits that we're sure a guy like Lil Ricky must despise.


But shows like "Leave It To Beaver" weren't all bad. Unlike Santorum, Ward and June would agree that it takes a village to raise a child. And, the town of Mayfield was a "village" with schools and teachers and police and boy scout troops and neighbors who all figured prominently into the plot lines and who all had lessons to teach or learn.

You see, even for a Republican, Rick Santorum is completely out of the mainstream. In Ricky's ideal world, children must be home-schooled, only one parent may work, and bringing home a dead baby from the hospital to "bond" with your preschool age kids isn't the least but creepy. His is a scary little insular world that, while it views all outside influence as suspect, at the same time proclaims there is no right to privacy.


Ward, I'm worried about the Beaver, indeed!

1 comment:

AndrewL said...

Because nothing says I love you (or at least I love having sex with you) quite like Santorum.