The McCain campaign recently released a new attack ad against Sen. Barack Obama’s sex education policies which was clearly designed to mislead Americans about what comprehensive sexuality education really is and how it can serve families and communities.
The foundation for a healthy life and understanding of sexuality starts with early childhood education and a discussion of the basics. And we are talking about the basics here, folks. Every child, even as young as kindergarten, has the right to a certain level of education about his/her body. Messages included for Level 1 (5 to 8 year olds) in the SIECUS Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, include:
- Bodies change as children grow older
- Everybody can be proud of their body
- Individual bodies are different sizes, shapes, and colors
- Girls and boys have many similarities and a few differences
- Boys and girls have different body parts
- It is ok to say “no” to adults who are touching you or make you feel uncomfortable
I am always shocked when the Right tries to make Americans afraid of statements like these — statements that are designed to instill in young people a sense of self worth, respect for diversity, and ability to make safe decisions. The Guidelines also provide messages for children on friendship, love, parents, and values — issues that we all care about.
So why the no-holds-barred attack from the Right on the basic American values of education and smart decision making? Because, the more you know about comprehensive sexuality education, the less afraid of it you will be. And, right now, fear is all the right wing has to offer. Sen. McCain, organizations like the National Abstinence Education Association, and other members of the abstinence-only-until-marriage industry are trying to sell the American people on their extremist view of the world by misleading, distorting, and, yes, even lying about comprehensive sexuality education and the policy makers who support it.
It is time that the American people said, “Enough.”
The truth about Obama’s record in the Illinois legislature is that he supported a bill that would have amended the state’s sex education law by allowing more students access to age-appropriate instruction and requiring that all materials be “medically accurate.” Of course students should receive instruction on all subjects that is age appropriate, and I have yet to meet anyone with the chutzpah to say they are against medically accurate information.