In a condensed version of the story, the trouble started when gay activists learned that the popular “hook-up” website had donated the maximum allowed to Republican candidate John McCain. The larger gay community, usually assumed to vote Democratic, felt as though they had been betrayed by the website and that their membership fees were going toward their own political demise. The story became exponentially more complicated when conservatives had their own problems with the news. They wanted to know how their Republican candidate could justify using money from a gay sex website and still be considered morally sound.
In the end, Manhunt.net attempted to regain some of their fiercely Democratic customer base by issuing statements, firing people and even making an equal donation to the Campaign for Change. But their donations were returned from both Presidential campaigns and then Manhunt users were left with an even weightier question: Why are political candidates so fearful of accepting money or words of support from the adult industry?
Perhaps the answer to that question can be found in a would-be scandal that I call “Bondage-Gate”. In the Fort Lauderdale Mayoral race of 2009, Fox News decided to get involved by releasing a “news story” about one of the 3 leading candidates, Earl Rynerson.
Rynerson was one of two openly gay candidates for Mayor running against another Democrat who eventually won - Jack Seiler. Rynerson’s campaign was rather slow compared to his opponents, so on some level, the controversy brought him a bit of attention, but it wasn’t the kind of attention he wanted. According to Fox News (who had gone digging through his old credit card receipts), Rynerson had rented pornography and bought a lifetime membership to an internet bondage website a few years ago. Fox News has since removed the inflammatory piece from all their websites, the election is over and both Rynerson and Trantalis (the other gay candidate) lost the election.
However, there are two internet websites which found value in keeping the article online. A neo-NAZI website operating out of West Palm Beach (the infamous Stormfront.org) keeps the story up, as well as a similarly fascist anti-gay website called AmericansForTruth.com. These websites use the story as a platform to show their readers that those “filthy” gay people should not be elected to public office because they will supposedly “turn the office into a sexual playground”. But according to an ABC poll (in which less than 5% of the people polled were GLBT), a whopping 12 percent of Americans are already having sex in the workplace, literally… on the clock.
Now, even the most prudish among us can see that there a number of problems with this sort of smear campaign. First and foremost, it’s just not a big deal. Pornography made by consenting adults is just not quite the political pipe bomb it used to be back in the 60’s and 70’s. In fact, the heavily Mormon population of Salt Lake City Utah has been found to consume more internet pornography than any other place in America. Let the record show that even as I write this post, I have a second window open with some very naughty things going on… and yes, I’m very much ok with that.
Secondly, these kinds of non-news stories only serve to divert our attention away from bigger issues and real life “sex problems” that people face. Perhaps nobody remembers that there was a much more serious Floridian political sex problem in late 2007 that actually involved murder and suicide. You might not be familiar with this story, because to my knowledge, the only person who covered it was Pam Spaulding on her blog.
According to PamsHouseBlend:
* the bodies of Republican political consultant Ralph Gonzalez, 39, president of The Strategum Group, his roommate David Abrami and "a friend," Jason Robert Drake, were found in the house of Ralph Gonzalez.
* Gonzalez served with the Republican Party of Florida's House Campaign Division and executive director of the Georgia Republican Party and counted the Alabama Republican Legislative Committee as a client, producing an anti-gay flier accusing a Dem candidate of supporting marriage equality.
* A newspaper, Florida Today, initially reported that there were signs of a struggle, printing "Lovers' fight may have sparked three deaths" as its headline. The paper later scrubbed any references to a love triangle.
Now, these are the sorts of sex-scandals that we need to hear more about because they present the cold hard truth about the society we live in. These poor guys would rather kill each other and commit suicide than come out of the closet and admit to their Republican colleagues that they are gay. Yet, the mainstream media would rather focus on the non-story of a South Carolina Deputy Assistant DA who committed the heinous crime of being caught with sex toys in his SUV. He was not using the sex toys in his car and from what has been reported, the toys and a single tablet of Viagra were not even visible from outside the vehicle when police pulled him over. The Assistant DA was flogged by the media and then fired from his job even though no crime had been committed. The big question we should be asking here is why a man deserves to lose his entire livelihood over the possession of perfectly legal items in the privacy of his own property. But absolutely NOBODY in the mainstream media has raised this question in relation Roland Corning’s non-scandal.
America has hang-ups when it comes to sexuality. The human mind is capable of going to some very dark places and when we can’t even admit that we enjoy sex, the dark recesses of our minds begin to consume the entire landscape of our thinking… leading to sex addiction, sinister behavior and yes… even victimizing children.
I would put forth to any Fascist organization (Stormfront, AmericansForTruth, NARTH) which demonize the expression of sexuality that THEY are responsible for every child who has been harmed and every life that has been taken by the inability to receive mental help in terms of self-acceptance and release from the pseudo-religious dogma we have come to call “group-think”. Predators go undetected and parents are left without the necessary resources to raise their children with awareness and dignity.
This “disease” of sexual dishonesty is not just one for politicians, although they seem to be the most inflicted. A good majority of Americans are living in the psycho-sexual dark ages according to just about every world survey on sexual dysfunction. Unfortunately, in our tabloid-centric society, nobody is learning "the moral of the story" anymore. Rarely is the opinion presented these days which reflects that "the problem isn't the sex they're having, it's the lying about it."
Even so, the lies and cover-ups of everyone from Carrie Prejean to John Edwards really amount to people who are trying so desperately to protect the sanctuary of their private lives from the monster created by their media-induced public image. Can you blame them?
They don't owe us any explanations, really. We should concern ourselves with more important matters. That's the real "moral of the story."