The pendulum of morality swings back and forth as a reaction to current events. It’s effected by presidents (Clinton), Super Bowls (Janet Jackson) and now finally this: the Rubber Duck of Spring Hill, Tennessee.
SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Katherine Williams says the yellow ducky sponge she put on sale at a flea market is merely a child’s toy. City officials say the vibrator inside makes it a sex toy.
But officials in this Nashville suburb backed off from citing Williams for violating the city’s sexually oriented business ordinance because she had already taken down her display by the time police responded to complaints Saturday. Nearby vendors also refused to be witnesses in the case.
“We’ve declined to prosecute because of a lack of evidence,” City Administrator Ken York said Tuesday.
Williams, whose Passions & Pleasures business sells lotions and adult novelties at in-home parties, described her product line as “PG-13” and said she got only two negative comments at the flea market.
“Nothing we do is nasty, unless you have a nasty mind,” she said, turning a knob on the yellow ducky’s tail to make the sponge vibrate. “My 3-year-old son loves to play with this duck in the bath. He puts it on his neck and on his head.”
Williams said she’ll be back at the flea market next year.
“If she does, she’ll be cited into court,” York said. “That duck is a sexual toy, and it was on display. That was a vibrator on display in public view.”
Has this moral pendulum finally swung too far to the right?
The most intriguing quote from that news article is this one:
Nothing we do is nasty, unless you have a nasty mind…
So just what kind of person makes a phone call to the local authorities to report a vibrating duck violation? Just how motivated do you have to be to keep your town protected from this sort of threat to make that phone call? I will offer this person the benefit of the doubt and go on the assumption that the duck in question was surrounded by other “novelties” that would not be considered appropriate for three-year-olds. But even with this assumption, why couldn’t this person live by the advice I grew up with in Old New England…
Mind your own business.
There are so many threats out there common to us all. There are threats to our safety, our way of life, our liberties and even the quality of the air we breathe. We’re in the middle of perhaps the most important presidential election of this new century. But the current culture in America seems to be swinging very hard to the right, to the point of establishing a country where everyone “is just like us”. Let’s be clear, I don’t want an adult bookstore built next door to me either but this conservative mindset has given itself permission to police the general population with its own set of laws. America was once proud of the fact that every voice was worth listening to. Now an individual has to be concerned with being branded “UnAmerican” or, worse, “UnBeliever”.
The Republican Party mobilized a vocal and often radical branch of Christianity as a way to help topple Clinton. This branch is fed its Daily Word through its own fair-and-balanced television network and the pulpits of pastors who realize that they can fill the seats by riding this wave. The current administration galvanizes this branch of support by appointing John Ashcroft as Attorney General. And the end result is that a huge block in the foundation of our liberty has been removed: the block that advocated separation of church and state.
Ironic isn’t it? The Pilgrims came to Massachusetts to find religious tolerance. Now, the average person on the street in Spring Hill, Tennessee finds themselves intolerant of a vibrating rubber duck. Even if it was a sex toy, where was the traditional American tolerance that says you have your values and I have mine?
And just to add more irony, let me mention Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker and now Bill O’Reilly. Why is it when these men are caught literally with their pants down they are offered forgiveness while the woman in Spring Hill is offered a trip to court?
The answer is that by undermining the separation of church and state, the Republicans have granted tacit approval for this sect to act as moral police in local communities. And should “one of their own” stray from the path, they are offered a second chance. The risk is really only to people who are non-believers in the new order.
And this may be new information for some in the self-appointed morality police:
1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Everyone must judge for themselves what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not. However, that is an individual right that cannot be taken away by any government, official or unofficial. Issues of local standards and individual integrity are too important to leave the decisions to a vocal sect. Tolerance of differing opinions is not only “American”, its the morally correct thing to do.
I do not fault anyone for their own beliefs when they differ from mine. I do fault an administration for basically creating and supporting a state religion.
And just for fun imagine that there was never a conservative block that was fed a Daily Message through slanted news networks and pulpits. Imagine that there was a block of highly-liberal voters that could be fed a daily message and motivated to vote. Now try to imagine what this block of voters could hand the Republicans the White House. Can you imagine their campaign slogan?
Perhaps “a rubber duck in every tub”?