Sex and politics, all in one post
I was absentmindedly singing along with the radio the other day as I drove home from picking up Julia at preschool. It was an old song that I hadn't heard in many years, and despite the fact that it's as insipid now as it was when it was released, it made me smile to hear it because of the memories it brought back. It was an old George Michael song and the chorus was the kind that inspires you to sing loud:
Sex is natural
Sex is good
Not everybody does it
But everybody sh....
I suddenly realized what I was singing and abruptly turned the radio off. While I do wholeheartedly believe that sex is natural and good, I had no desire to explain to the nearly 4 year old and the 1 1/2 year old listening attentively in the back seat why not everybody does it, nor did I care to debate whether or not everybody should. "That radio station has no business playing an explicit song like that in the middle of the day," I thought angrily as I hurriedly asked Julia a question about school before she had a chance to ask me about the lyrics I'd just been singing. "They shouldn't be allowed to do that."
A few hours later, when I'd had a chance to think about the situation, I was still horrified, but now it was at myself rather than the radio station. I knew that becoming a parent had changed me in ways I never expected, but surely it hadn't altered my politics so completely that I now believed in censorship, had it?
When I really thought it through, I was relieved to realize that despite my knee jerk reaction, I hadn't completely lost my belief system somewhere in the process of raising my kids. While I wish I'd thought to switch the song off sooner, I still don't believe it was anyone's responsibility other than my own to do so. I'm perfectly capable of turning the radio off if I find the content being broadcast to be inappropriate for my children, just as I can limit their television viewing to appropriate programs and themes. I don't actually want anyone to say that a radio station can't play a song with sexually explicit lyrics, and I still believe that to do so would be constitutionally and morally wrong. Phew. I'm still me.
I had two close calls in one day with this one. I came dangerously close to a very premature discussion about sex with my kids, and I came even closer to finding myself a conservative. Draw your own conclusions about which one bothered me more.