McCain doesn’t want children to learn how to protect themselves

A couple of days ago I talked about John McCain’s vigorous opposition to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Now he has put out a lying attack ad against Barack Obama. The bill concerned included teaching young schoolchildren developmentally-appropriate protective behaviours, so that they may be able to recognise, resist, and report sexual abuse of themselves and their peers.

McCain doesn’t want children to learn how to protect themselves. Not only that, but he has lied in the ad (age-appropriate protective behaviours ed isn’t “comprehensive sex education”, and the bill concerned wasn’t even sponsored by Obama).

To top it all off he has illustrated that part of the ad with an image of Obama looking down and leering. It could also be argued (convincingly, I think), that the Republicans are trying to harness racist thoughts with this Scary/Creepy Black Guy image.

[There’s something odd going on with youtube embedding – try this link. ]

The reality?

This is what Obama had to say about sex education in 2004 (from Newsweek):

Keyes: Well, I had noticed that, in your voting, you had voted, at one point, that sex education should begin in kindergarten, and you justified it by saying that it would be “age-appropriate” sex education. [It] made me wonder just exactly what you think is “age-appropriate.”

Obama: We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it’s medically accurate and age-appropriate. Now, I’ll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean. And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that’s the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.

We might hope that protective behaviours are already taught thoroughly and sensitively in all homes, but the bottom line is that they’re not. It’s the children who may be the most vulnerable who are least likely to be receiving this sort of education at home. Public education is meant to include a safety net for children from difficult homes and unstable environments. Their schools should be there to help them learn all the things they are missing out on at home, and to support them to recognise abuse, protect themselves, and get help if they need it.

McCain opposes this safety net. He wants to condemn children to ignorance; he wants to leave them vulnerable. His fiction of parental ownership of children fuels the facilitation of child sexual abuse.

“Could McCain be any more douchebaggish?” wants to trip off my tongue after seeing this ad; but yes, yes of course he can. I’m sure it won’t be long. And he is not just a harmless douchebag: McCain is a danger to children.

[full clip is here. Via.]

Categories: education, gender & feminism, Politics

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Right on. But one quibble — I actually would argue that what Obama is supporting is comprehensive sex education, simply of an age appropriate manner. Planned Parenthood also identifies it as such. Comprehensive sex education doesn’t just mean learning to put on a condom. It means teaching kids the things they need to know when they need to know it in order to lead sexually healthy lives. And personally, when it comes to sex ed, one of my absolute biggest concerns is teaching kids and teens to identify and understand sexual assault. I don’t feel that any sex education is comprehensive without that information.
    caras last blog post..When a Man is The Victim: A Study in Rape Apology

  2. …considering I was taught about inappropriate touching as an American first grader in the late 80s, I don’t see why or how McCain thinks this is anything new or different. He’s bullshit pandering to the evangelical set, and it’s hurting everyone.
    He can kindly go fuck off.

  3. This whole campaign is twisting my stomach.

  4. Cara: we’re in general agreement. What I’m doing is to contextualise, which means trying to get into the head of the assholes who lap this stuff up (boy, it stinks in here). In this context, “comprehensive” is code for “Evil sex-crazed Democrats are going to teach five year olds how to put condoms on dildos, and recruit them into homosexuality!”

  5. I second Beppie … this is getting pretty icky. That whole lipstick-pig bollocks pissed me off. The comprehensive sex ed stuff just makes me squirm.

  6. It is really frustrating to watch it from the outside, god only knows what it is like to watch this campaign from the inside, as an American citizen.

  7. I hate to, but I have to ask. What would be someone’s motive for standing against educating children to report abuse?

  8. I suspect that there’s still many a social conservative who really, deep down, believes that (a) sexual abuse just doesn’t happen in respectable families, (b) non-respectable families are so dysfunctional that horrible things of some kind are going to happen to the kids anyway and so any social program, including actual public education for these kids, is actually a waste of public funds, and (c) if these kids are kept uneducated and miserable they are more likely to sign up to the military to provide the necessary expendable personnel.
    Planned Parenthood have come out with a video in direct response though.
    There’s also one from NARAL in response to the McCain-Palin anti-choice platform.

  9. Well… we see who won 🙂 Educated children it is 🙂


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