opinion

The Politics of Porn

Stephen Yagielowicz
There's a job opening currently available that has a couple of front-running contenders vying for their potential employer's consideration; and these prospects will do, and say, anything and everything you might possibly want to hear – all in an effort to become the chosen one...

This highly sought after position is being offered by The People of The United States of America, and carries with it a four year contract. The job title? President. The pay? Relatively unremarkable for a Chief Executive. The benefits? Unmatched. The possibility of assassination for "just doing your job..."? Never ending. Yet in an era where more American school children would rather become rock stars or pro "ball" players than become President, the job of President is still highly contested, with an outcome that could affect the lives of billions.

The election is tomorrow, and just as politics and the upcoming election are the prevalent topic in the mainstream media, much of the activity on many of our industry's message boards is centered around the issues and the candidates, and the expected outcome in this highly polarized battle between a Republican administration seeking to retain power, and the Democratic contenders attempting to seize control.

Many observers of the debates on our boards and in the media come from outside of the United States, and may not understand the fundamental differences between these two political parties: Historically, Democrats have favored a large government that provides many social services. This "big government" is supported by ever higher taxes, especially on businesses and the richest Americans, redistributing wealth in an attempt to redress the inequalities between the have's and the have not's. Republicans, on the other hand, favor the interests of the state, and of business, and support a small, unintrusive government paid for by low taxes for everyone, that provides a climate where those who work can get ahead.

The Democratic Party in America was originally formed to redress the often profound inequalities between the have's and the have not's, but the conditions that caused these inequalities are no longer the status quo – yet the political machine that evolved around the struggle of the masses to have a better life remains – as does the perception of Republicans being "fat cats" while Democrats represent "the little guy" – a perception that is exploited to this day by politicians.

While a cursory perusal of industry message board discussions will reveal an overwhelming slant towards support for Senator John Kerry, the Democratic Presidential contender, I have to ask the question: "Why?"

A Vote For Kerry Is A Vote For Porn?
I try to be a fairly astute student of politics. I patronize a wide variety of news media, and spend many hours listening to analysts, their analysis, and the resulting debates between them. I watch a lot of C-Span, and listen to a lot of hearings and speeches while working. However, despite the tremendous amount of political, cultural and economic rhetoric that I absorb on a daily basis, I have not once heard John Kerry say that he supports porn, or even "an individual's right to read, watch, or listen to the material of their choice."

So how is it that so many in this industry apparently believe that "A Vote For Kerry Is A Vote For Porn?" Perhaps it's a fear of John Ashcroft and his threatened "War On Porn" which did not materialize (in part due to a Justice Department shift in focus to the War On Terror)? Well, reliable sources including U.S. News & World Report have suggested that in the event of a Bush re-election, a new Attorney General would most likely be appointed, due in part to Ashcroft's recent health issues. This would eliminate Ashcroft, but perhaps not his agenda, from a re-elected Bush administration.

If Kerry wins the election, however, sources have hinted that his nominee for the nation's top cop will be New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid. Madrid is not very likely to be a fan of our industry, and indeed, she might actually implement the crack down that we feared would come from Ashcroft – but didn't...

On one hand, we have a sitting Attorney General, who while he has publicly denounced pornography, has placed more emphasis on fighting P2P piracy than on fighting legitimate purveyors of adult entertainment – and who will likely be replaced regardless of who wins the election. On the other hand, we have the hope that if he's elected, a Kerry-appointed Attorney General will turn a blind eye to our industry, or that will at least show the same restraint that the current Attorney General has. So while the adult industry may very well be in danger from the Republicans, it's not at all clear that it will be any safer from the Democrats.

Still, for many, the perception persists that a Kerry administration would better serve the interests of the adult industry.

At this point, most polls paint the election as too close to call, with few Americans still undecided as to which candidate will receive their vote. Time, and if I may predict, the courts, will tell the outcome of the 2004 election, and with a greater deal of controversy than was seen in the 2000 election. Reports have already circulated that the Democrats have "10,000 lawyers" standing by and ready to contest each and every locality where Kerry doesn't win. I really expect the "final" election results to take up to a month to determine – and then 4 more years for everyone to argue about...

Time will also reveal the future of our industry, and the environment in which it operates in, regardless of who the winner is. Let's hope that the choices we make on election day will give us a good and profitable future! Vote Smart! ~ Stephen

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