Earlier in the week the Canadian government struck down two old provisions that made working with prostitutes illegal. While prostitution has been legal for some time in Canada, the services around it like bookkeeping, healthcare, insurance, etc. have not been. While this could seem like a plus, prostitutes technically did not have to pay taxes, it also had its drawbacks, prostitutes could not plan for their futures or claim any expenses, of which there seems, there are many.
Most public opinion reported was favorable. “I feel like a citizen.” That’s what Valerie Scott — legal coordinator of the Sex Professionals of Canada organization — said after emerging from a courtroom where the Supreme Court of Ontario struck down two provisions in the criminal code against prostitution.
What this decision also provided was the legalization of brothels or the incorporation of prostitutes in supportive environments and the ability to legally hire support staff.
At a moment in time when in the United States women’s reproductive rights are a huge topic of discussion from Politicians to Women’s Book Clubs. And when it seems like the world should be moving forward, The United States has taken a big step back in how it feels about womanhood in general –(Fun fact: Did you know science didn’t know exactly what a clitoris looked like until 2009?) and Prostitution in particular.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the political field. Prostitution after all is a matter which is only important to people professing a moral issue with it.
It is an unfortunate truth that the United States has made morality its business. The small insertion of God’s name by the founding fathers, despite Thomas Jefferson’s many writings to the contrary has given every politician since the idea that the United States government exists to enforce morality on its citizenry.
A funny dichotomy since the very act of being a politician is in essence prostituting oneself to the masses in order to get either a payday or power or both. In fact political pandering produced more tax sheltered dollars and benefits for the politician than any prostitute can ever hope to earn.
But let’s break the two down a bit more:
On the one hand, a prostitute makes his or her money by agreeing to engage in pre-arranged acts of sexual congress. Sometimes the script goes off course and they end up doing more than they thought they would and since what they are doing is illegal they have no recourse. They simply live through it and go to work the next day.
On the other hand, a politician makes his/her money by agreeing to engage in pre-arranged acts of congress and business and special interests. Very often the script goes off course and since what they are doing is against the constitution and/or laws, they are left with no recourse. They simply live through it and pass the pain on to their constituents.
See, Politian’s are actually more screwed than prostitutes and by more people. They also highjack a higher number of people to their “business ventures” and pass along the pain than does your typical prostitute.
None of this really matters to us as a society of course, as most people are perfectly fine with prostitution being legalized. It works fine in states like Nevada with no apparent shift in the Moral Majority’s standing in that state. In fact the Moral Majority is alive and well there. Mormons, who we have heard so much of with Mitt Romney running for president, operate a Temple in the heart of Las Vegas and their membership numbers for the state are 346,677. Nevada also boasts 9 mega churches with a congregation total of roughly 39,681. This doesn’t include the many other moral majority members less easy to count that belong to smaller congregations. By comparison the number licensed brothels in the state are 28 which employ on average 300 prostitutes at any given time. (Nevada law does not allow for prostitution outside of brothels) That adds up to roughly 8,400 registered prostitutes, quite a bit less than the moral majority in the state of Nevada. (Source: Wikipedia)
No, in the one state in the Union known for its legalized prostitution, there is no problem with the Moral Majority living side by side with prostitution. This is because prostitution has in our time become just another sling or arrow to throw at those on the other side of the fence. It is a galvanizing word and it gets people’s attention because in our society when we say it we think of sexuality.
However, we can and do prostitute everything from our time and talents to our very souls, which if we were actually taking some sort of moral high ground would seem to be of more concern than what we did to blow off steam or meet our physical needs.
But name calling and finger pointing isn’t relegated to prostitutes. We have a variety of ways to call people names who we don’t agree with. We also call them sluts, whores and liberals. Conversely the other side is quick to call their nemesis names like conservatives, republicans, reporklicans, republicants. We call them Politicians too. When people point out our foibles and we don’t like it, we dismiss them by calling them pundits, non-mainstream news, bloggers or even worse; Comedians. What do comedians know anyway? This is a tactic recently used by Fox News and affiliates. As pointed out by Jon Stewart recently on The Daily Show:
It’s a good thing Comedians have a sense of humor as shown by Will Farrell in his “comedy helmet”
Back to Prostitution, it’s a job, like any other job. Some people may find it distasteful, boring, and morally wrong and those people shouldn’t do that job. Just like people who find feet gross shouldn’t be podiatrists. But does it hurt society? In the words of one person recently (legalizing prostitution) “reduces the cost of war on crime, increases tax revenue, regulates it, and if done properly, can reduce the risk of diseases… hey, people are gonna fuck, legal or not…”
Clearly it does not. It hasn’t slowed anyone’s moral, spiritual or community growth. Nevada is a testament to that. Its legalization protects both those in the sex trade field and those who need to be protected from it, like under aged children who might otherwise be taken advantage of. In fact a Canadian study outlined how keeping prostitution illegal hurt sex industry workers. It protects the procurers of sex. They don’t have to worry about being blackmailed or their kept woman keeping other lovers. The contract is clear from the beginning.
It even protects the politicians. The ones who rant about the evils of sex (except to procreate- a lot apparently). Maybe especially the politicians as they are the ones most often caught in prostitution scandals. Making this legal keeps them on the job, selling themselves to the highest bidder with no worry about skeletons being released.
Sounds like a good deal all around.