Don’t worry. This will get political at some point. But I thought we’d start today’s piece with a tawdry, yet symbolic story…
As a senior in high school, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when American Pie came out. It centered on, essentially, what was for us at the time, an all consuming obsession: getting laid.
Not falling in love, valuing women, or any sort of genuine search for a legitimate relationship. No, this was about losing our virginity, a task that doesn’t come easy for most middle class white dudes living in the suburbs. Sure the really popular, good-looking, mature jocks and playboys got laid—but we were your mere average ordinary teenage jackasses, blending into the strip malls and corporate theaters and fast food joints like the background: there, but just barely. And only if you were looking for us.
Make no mistake, our lives were easy. There was no need to think about what to do, where to go, or how to act: the answers and directions were readily supplied by well-meaning coaches, teachers, and parents. It was simple: work hard, study, practice, train, and eventually, you’ll find success. And it was true for me and my buddies. We got good grades, played varsity sports, worked as editors for the newspaper, won medals at DECA competitions, etc.
But getting laid… that was fucking nebulous. Incongruous. Asymmetrical. An epic task that could start and end in a million different ways. And for those of us who dared ask our parents, the advice was either, “don’t worry about it” or so terrible I won’t repeat it here for fear it’ll scar any young man who happens to read this irreparably.
Thus, the euphemism “getting lucky” was spot on. For all we knew that’s all it was. Luck. Like winning the lottery. If you’re around attractive girls long enough it’ll just somehow happen—and therefore task number one was finding girls—so that’s what we spent most of our time doing. We’d drive from 24-hour coffee shop to bowling alley to pool hall to dance club, searching endlessly for girls on those electric teenage nights, drinking in parks or making mischief when we inevitably failed.
The other tactic was to invite the few girls we knew (friends mostly) over for parties when our parents took off for the weekend, hoping that the excitement of alcohol and hormones would set the stage, and then it would just kind of… happen. You’d end up in a bedroom with a honey and then bam, bye-bye virginity. Right?
Not so much. And it’s clear why we failed—girls don’t magically have sex with dudes because they’re hanging around l00king hungry and desperate (in fact, those are the last guys in the world they want to sleep with). They have sex with guys who take them to dinner (usually more than once)–guys who are mature and buy flowers and play the game; guys who actually care about them–or at least pretend to.
But there was one time, at my parent’s house, when I had the chance we’d chased for so long.
I can’t even remember how we got there, but there we were, making out like bandits in my parents’ master bathroom. The door was locked and she was completely wasted—the blue label Smirnoff, Southern Comfort, and cheap beer having done their work. She took off her clothes. We kept kissing. And then she told me, in no uncertain terms, we should do it.
“Let’s have sex.”
Awesome, right? Here was my chance. I’d obsessed about this moment for years, spent countless hours devoted to nothing else, and finally—fucking finally—here was my chance: a beautiful naked girl, ready to go, asking for it…
But I didn’t.
Sure, part of it was nerves?–?the enormity of a moment I’d built up for so long finally at hand?–?but my gut told me it was wrong. And I listened.
I could have—it was my choice—but it was wrong. Immoral.
She was so drunk she had no idea what she was doing. She wasn’t my girlfriend. I didn’t have a condom. And once I crossed that threshold, I couldn’t go back. Neither of us could. It was wrong, and in the end I just told her she was too drunk and I helped her back into her clothes and put her to bed–then went back downstairs and drank myself stupid for squandering the opportunity.
However, looking back, I’m proud of that moment—proud that I was able to check my greedy, sex-obsessed, hormone-riddled teenage boy body to do the right thing.
And who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference. Maybe she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant or had an STD or been upset after that she’d been taken advantage of? Maybe everything would’ve been fine and I would’ve gotten what I wanted?
Or maybe not.
But I made the right choice. The moral choice. And faced again with a similar dilemma I’m sure I could do so again.
Which begs the question: will Republicans—both members of Congress and ordinary Americans—be able to execute that same moral judgment?
Because, like that girl on my parents’ bathroom floor, America is reeling, drunk on partisanship, fake news, Russia, and constant scandal. And the Republican Party can do what it will with her.
They’ve already rammed Trump’s Orwellian cabinet appointments down her throat, and if they so choose, they can proceed accordingly: fondling and massaging the tax code for the benefit of the rich, smothering their opposition by sending ICE after immigrants, issuing racist and purposeless executive orders, and finally, the coup de grace: ravaging the very core of her body and soul, shoving Obamacare to the side and forcibly thrusting in a bitter replacement, disorienting the entire healthcare system—comforting the comfortable. Afflicting the afflicted.
They can, and they’ll get their cover: Donald Trump will go on tweeting his ridiculous lies. Right wing media will twist and squirm—they’ll lie and misinform and distract and dissemble. They’ve sold their souls to Satan already; there’s nothing left to lose.
And who knows: if Republicans can manage to protect their gerrymandered districts, suppress enough votes, manipulate the media narrative, and further insulate the poor rubes in the South and Midwest in their Fox news, hate-radio bubble—maybe they can survive, losing only a handful of House seats and maintaining control of the Senate.
Or maybe not: for more than half the country already feels raped by the last election, and none of the above polices will make America great again for anyone but the very rich and powerful…
But that’s yet to be decided.
The question is whether Republicans and the conservative movement will go forward with their plans (the plutocratic agenda they’ve been obsessing over for years) when it’s becoming increasingly clear it’s the wrong thing to do–that this is not what America wants–or needs.
That to take advantage of her in this way is deeply mistaken and immoral.
It’s an interesting time in this sense, because we stand—as I’ve written before—on a precipice: either the Republican Party balks, as enough of them become aware they’re not doing what’s best for their constituents, themselves, or the country; or they forge ahead, and in so doing break America over their knee like Bane did to Batman, knifing through the fabric of the nation and it’s people in a way that probably can’t be held together without massive repression, and can’t be repaired without revolution, violence, and civil war.
For essentially, to move forward with the Republican agenda would mean, simultaneously, to create the necessity for an immense program of propaganda and government surveillance. Because something would have to be done, right, when the inevitable revolt occurs? Republicans policies are not going to make things better, and therefore the Trump administration would have to lie en masse to disrupt the disintegrating reality ordinary Americans face—moreover, they’d have to tamp down the protests, civil disobedience, and at some point, riots sure to follow.
In other words, if Republicans have sex with the girl on my parents’ bathroom floor, they’ll have to transform the government into a fully authoritarian regime to maintain power. It’s that or be utterly destroyed at the ballot box.
It’s a dark place in which we find ourselves. A dark place indeed.
But there’s some hope in my own story, which is why I opened with it.
I mean shit, if a horny teenage boy who’s done nothing but think about sex everyday of his life can turn down a drunk, naked girl asking for him to do just that, an entire party of adults ought to be able to step back from the abyss and avoid the destruction of their own nation…
If you like the above, check out my new novel Cherry City Pulp! An awkward, sexy, funny, and sometimes violent story about relationships, sex, high school, and young people growing up in Oregon, chock full of satire and social commentary. Also, please help us out by making a donation on our website ChuckingRocks.com. Every dollar counts. If you can’t make a donation at this time, the other way you can help is to spread the word–so please, like, share, email, tweet, and/or retweet our posts. Remember to follow me on twitter @Chuckingrocks or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.