Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

First Tinky-Winky, Now SpongeBob

Once again we learn that tolerance is not a family value and Dr. Dobson is leading the fight to make sure it stays that way. Apparently, SpongeBob SquarePants is part of an insidious plan to brainwash America's kids. From the Times:
Dr. Dobson said, SpongeBob's creators had enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video," in which he appeared alongside children's television colleagues like Barney and Jimmy Neutron, among many others. The makers of the video, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity."
Paul Batura, assistant to Mr. Dobson at Focus on the Family, said the group stood by its accusation.

"We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids," he said. "It is a classic bait and switch."
Wow, sounds like those "We Are Family" guys are evil and devious, doesn't it? While the video isn't on line you can go read about it at We Are Famlily:
Arthur, Barney, Bear, Big Bird, Clifford, JoJo and SpongeBob, as well as over 100 other beloved children's characters, have united to re-record the smash hit "We Are Family" in an unprecedented music video to promote tolerance and diversity to America's children. The video, which demonstrates to children the importance of togetherness embodied in the word “family”, will be distributed to 61,000 public and private elementary schools in the United States on March 11, 2005, in celebration of the proposed National We Are Family Day.
“Cooperation and unity are the most important values we can teach children. We believe that this is the essential first step to loving thy neighbor,” says Nile Rodgers, co-writer of the song “We Are Family” and founder of the We Are Family Foundation. “And the fun and exciting format makes it a lesson that's easy for children to learn.”
How dare they say cooperation and tolerance should be taught to our children! We must teach our children to hate those unlike themselves! Hate! Hate! Hate!

The "tolerance pledge" does not appear on the video, but there is a link for it at the We Are Family site. For the record, here it is
Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America's diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own.
Wow, that's some evil stuff there, eh?

Seriously though, I always feel a deep sadness seeing complaints like this. Those of us on the left like to think of Dobson and his righteous brethren as the evil agents of oppression and intolerance. Or as the popular Colorado bumpersticker goes, "Focus On Your Own Damn Family". But if you go to the family.org web site and look around it is pretty clear the guy is legitimately trying to do what he thinks is best. He's just wrong.

The good news is guys like Dobson were racial biggots only a few decades ago. I see no sign Dobson himself is racist. While there is still racism out there it appears liberals have basically won that battle. Perhaps fifty years from now the next generation of conservatives will accept gay couples just like they accept non-whites today. Dobson fan Hammertime is already half way there.

I'm a big believer in balance, so I think we still need those conservatives out there, though, to clean up some of the collateral damage. Yes, liberalism does at times lead to too much promiscuity, too much dependence and not enough responsibility. Bill Cosby talks about it and so did Bill Clinton, even if he couldn't live up to it, personally. If only they'd stop singling out entire groups of people as scape goats and focus on real problems. If they want to complain about the in-your-face sexuality of some gay-pride parades I'm right there with them, but they attack the loving couples in committed relationships as well -- that's just wrong and immoral.

James Wolcott is less tolerant of the intolerant than I and suggests we call Dobson SpongeDob Stickypants for now on. I won't, but I'm willing to pass on the idea to others.