Monday, September 15, 2008

Why, Governor Rendell?

Guest Blogger: Marshall Bright

The other day, my uncle called me with some frightening information. Along with well-wishes for my next year of school and a lively update on internal medicine in Cleveland, Tennessee, he dropped this bombshell.

“I just wanted to let you know that during your entire teen years, Bush was president.”

Talk about a wasted youth.

During my teen years, my peers and I have been treated like a group of people who are physically ready to have sex, but not mentally or emotionally there. Apparently, we’re unable to hold two ideas in our heads at the same time like, “Abstinence is effective,” and “When you’re read to have sex, here’s how to be safe.” Apparently, we’ll experience system overload if confronted with that information, and if some are to be believed, throw caution to the wind and become procreating machines.

So, thanks to the Bush administration and the ilk, many of us are allowed only one narrative: “Abstinence is effective,” and “Abstinence is the only choice.”

Well, if I’m incapable of resolving ideas about sex aside from “Abstinence, Abstinence, Abstinence,” I’m going to need a lot of help understanding this doozy:

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is pro-comprehensive sex education. The same governor applies to receive funding for abstinence-only programs.

If sex ed can cause my brain to overload, resolving that last bit of information might just cause a system crash.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. You see, the governor’s office will claim that an application for funding isn’t an endorsement of abstinence-only sex programs. The application, rather, is to make sure the government doesn’t stand in the way of these programs. Huh?

Now, I’m still trying to figure out the whole egg-and-sperm thing, but isn’t there a difference between standing in the way of programs and allowing groups that often preach intolerance backed by religion to receive tax dollars?

After all, a hallmark of abstinence-only programs is preaching to wait until marriage to have sex. Oh, and sex, just like marriage, can only happen between a man and a woman too. So what about students who are gay or have gay parents? How do they fit in?

Aside from pumping money into something that discriminates against gay youth in our schools and replaces information with fear, tax money will also go to support something that has been proven, time and time again as ineffective.

Excuse me Governor Rendell, but isn’t doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results one of the definitions of insanity?

On top of all this confusion, we must also note that abstinence-only programs are being funded in Pennsylvania, and being funded well and often. Look no further than another supposedly pro-sex ed politican Arlen Specter. Through earmarks, Specter is doling out money to groups like A+ for Abstinence and the more innocuous sounding like Partners for a Healthier Tomorrow, whose website lists ways to have fun without having sex, including starting a rock or stamp collection. Tomorrow may be healthier, but it seems pretty boring too.

So, Governor Rendell, if all these abstinence-only groups are to be believed, I’m not going to be able to figure this one out on my own. Is what you’re doing- funding groups with moral agendas that have failed to prove effective time and time again, really what’s best for teenagers? Is it best for Pennsylvania? Or is it another way to invite religion, intolerance, and misinformation into our schools? You tell me, Governor.


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