Monday, July 19, 2004

Healthy Disagreement

"A man never tells you anything until you contradict him." -George Bernard Shaw

I came across that quote a few years back and I think that it has really shaped my life. If we all go along in life agreeing with everybody and stroking each others egos, no progress can be made. You only get superficial rhetoric until you put someone on the defense and make them back up their statements.

It is for this very reason that I subscribe to a few Bush/Cheny '04 RSSfeeds, as well as a Kerry/Edwards feed. The feeds are great at rebutting each other. It is also the reason that I check out Rush Limbaugh's web site every now and then and see what his current rant-of-the-moment is. I don't always disagree with what he initially says. But by the time he expands on the time he's really told me what he means and his thought process to bring him there...I seem to always be shaking my head in disbelief.

In this weekend's Weekly Radio Address by the President, Bush said, "And although teen birth rates have declined, about 3 million of our teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases each year. So we've requested a doubling of federal funding for abstinence-only education programs."

Ahem. You're going to prevent the transmission of STDs by telling teens to not have sex? What about the 40% of 15 year olds that are already having sex?

It's fine for people to have conservative values. You may abstain if you want to. But you can't ignore the facts. A surprising number of teens have sex. Sure, you can tell them not to. But many of them are going to do it anyway. You need to inform them of the options. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to not get pregnant or an STD. But condoms can really help. So can a committed, monogamous relationship. If you're going to choose to have sex, you need to know how to be safe about it.

Does President Bush understand the science behind his abstinence-only desires? Do you think he was a virgin during his coked-up, alcoholic years? Is he making these speeches simply to appease his base? I don't know the answers. But I do know that I think abstinence-only sex ed is ineffective and valueless.

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