Thursday, August 6, 2009

Swallowing the Medicine to Cure What Ails Us

Some time ago a friend of mine sent me this ABC News article about a study on men and condom use, or rather the preference to not use condoms. Given that even the most dimwitted of 7th graders knows why guys would prefer not to use condoms, this study sounded exactly like the type of thing that the Bobby Jindals of the world would attack as wasteful spending. How, I wondered, could we keep with the theme proposed by the Kinsey Institute researchers and make it relevant enough to folks on the right that they wouldn’t deem the funding to be of questionable import? The answer was quite simple.

Instead of the National Institutes of Health funding the Kinsey Institute to study condom usage, they could fund a joint project between Kinsey and the National Institute of Mental Health to study the psychopathology inherent in the inability of the religious right/family values crowd, in particular, and the Republican/conservative moment, in general to properly grasp the concept of and actually engage in tea-bagging, maintain marital fidelity, or to find their homosexual tendencies to be just as healthy as their heterosexual urges (except when they're soliciting strange men in airport bathrooms, or paying prostitutes, or acquiring Argentine mistresses those are decidedly unhealthy activities) when the first two are so central to their core beliefs and the third seems to be a regular predilection. Such a study could have wide ranging implications for our political system and even the current health care reform debate. Imagine a Republican Party transformed. Imagine them no longer being the party of “No,” but a party that could say “Yes!” Imagine, this study leading to others that eventually leads to a proper categorization and diagnosis of the illness that is conservatism. Imagine finding the genetic markers that cause this illness and being able to stop it before it fully expresses itself. Imagine, the health insurance industry no longer being able to discriminate against them for having this pre-existing condition and finally being able to get the coverage they deserve. Wouldn’t that make this a better more equitable country? Isn’t that change we can believe in? I guarantee that no less a paragon of the right than John Boehner would stand up and say “Yes, We Can!” if the Democratic caucus added such a provision to the current health reform legislation. At least until it came time to fund a study to cure what ails Democrats.

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