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GOP war on porn: The same party that nominated a libertine for president is now calling your porn a "public health crisis"

The RNC platform committee describes internet porn as a "public menace" that is "destroying the life of millions"


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Amanda Marcotte
July 14, 2016 2:00PM (UTC)

While the final draft of the 2016 Republican platform won't be finalized until next week, the drafting committee's meeting is public and reporters have been sending out a steady stream of reports on platform items approved by the committee and therefore likely to be made the official party positions next week.

The list so far is a grab bag of right-wing obsessions, urban legends, and bigotries, one that would be comical if not for the depressing realization that a lot of people believe this nonsense. Marijuana, national parks, the IRS, and mythical electromagnetic pulses are all condemned in dramatic terms appropriate for signs of the apocalypse.

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And, even though their presidential nominee is a thrice-married playboy who bragged on Howard Stern that avoiding STIs was his "personal Vietnam" — because of all the sleeping around, ha ha — the platform committee is extremely interested in policing what everyone else in the country is doing with their genitals. Cohabitation, homosexuality, abortion, even using the bathroom while trans: If it's not hetero married sex performed in the dark no more than once a month for the reasons of procreation, they are probably against it.

And sorry, fellas, but as much as Republicans love male privilege, when it comes to the sex police, even your private habits are going on the Thou Shalt Not list. Porn, according to what will likely be the official GOP platform, has been declared a "public health crisis" and a "public menace."

The amendment was proposed by Mary Frances Forrester, the widow a former North Carolina state senator, James Forrester, who died shortly after getting same-sex marriage banned in their state. Mrs. Forrester is no fan of gay men herself, having penned a piece in 2008 where she pretended to believe they are going to start a violent revolution in order to "sodomize your sons", and claimed that the average lifespan for gay men is only 39 years.

Apparently, Mrs. Forrester has similarly apocalyptic views of the dangers presented by the masturbatory habits of our internet-loving nation. Despite rote language about the supposed dangers to The Children from internet porn, it's clear that the real target of this amendment, due to the claim that porn is "destroying the life of millions", is ordinary men that like to fire up their computers for a little me time on occasions.

(I say men because, and this is just an educated guess, Forrester hasn't really considered the possibility that women also masturbate to internet porn.)

The amendment passed without much debate, even though many who voted for it undoubtably unwound with some internet porn themselves in their hotel rooms right after the meeting. It's a testament to how much the RNC platform committee is dominated by the Bible-thumping sector of the Republican party. By all reports, the Trump campaign has ceded all control over the Republican platform to the Christian right, which is largely seen as a way to buy off their support.

Which isn't to say that religious conservatives have been rendered powerless. On the contrary, this is yet another example of Trump's strategy for winning over the Christian right, by giving them all the power they demand in exchange for their silence about his own, extremely famous libertine history. The move distills the nasty double standard that forms conservative attitudes about sexuality, where the rich get to buy sexual privacy but the rest of us are policed by the right.

This double standard recently got a visual representation when Jerry Falwell Jr. tweeted out a picture of himself with Trump as they stood right in front of a framed picture of Playboy with Trump on the cover.

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Republican politics in a nutshell: If you're a rich and powerful man like Trump, your involvement with porn is put in a frame and displayed as an accomplishment. For everyone else, most of whom do nothing more than masturbate to it occasionally, your habits are labeled a "public menace."


Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. Her new book, "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself," is out now. She's on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte

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