Crammed in the court house auditorium with several other disgruntled, potential jurors, I begin to mull over the concept "of sound mind or good moral character." I deduce that those who are not of sound mind aren't the sort of people who make asses out of themselves online; rather they are people of my intelligence with some sort of "mental disability." Concluding that I'm not of sound mind because my anxiety may hinder my decision making, I still have trouble wrapping my head around the concept "of good moral character."
How does anyone judge whether or not he or she is of good moral character? The most obvious arises: those who deal or do drugs; those who are incline to take bribes; those who are racists; those who are sympathizers to child molesters; those who run sex shops (such as illegal prostitution and sex trafficking). These are the sort of people that came to mind when I thought about it long enough. However, good moral character has a plethora of connotations. For instance, the pornographer releasing the 100th triple-X Blu-ray title (may be NSFW) may seen as a person of poor moral character by a few of you out there. Or the person who shoves his hands down his pants and masturbates to online fodder, may be consider an individual of poor moral character. Even the woman having sex would be considered a person of poor moral character. None of these, however, would exactly exempt them from serving on a jury.
Sex sales – we've all heard the concept before. Yet, for every Calvin Klein commercial there is a group of people crying to the FCC that sex is destroying the innocence that is found in the youth of America. However, the very same youth of America they're aiming to protect are being arrested for creating, having and networking child pornography. Tougher laws are being pushed after one girl decided to take her own life after nude photos were distributed to several classmates through the very technology that she used to take them.
Several parents place the blame in the wrong mediums: sexuality on the television; sexuality in music; online pornography; celebrity sex tapes. If you can think it, it's been blamed for being responsible for the sudden boom in child sexual activity. Child upbringing starts at home and what you allow and don't allow your child to watch. Every parent has a different way of parenting, but by making something taboo, one is only driving their children into it. Talking to your child about the consequences of their actions might be a better path to take. As one porn filmmaker said, "Once you make an adult film, it never goes away."
With current situations, however, it's not surprise that sex is getting so much attention again (as if there was ever a time when it didn't). The economy is crashing and the sex industry – namely, the adult movie industry, is seeking government help in the form of a bailout. What an absurd idea, am I right? So absurd it's like calling the deputy attorney general a pornographer due to court cases and free speech issues he'd taken on in the past. It would seem that the lyrics of the off Broadway musical turned internet meme is flawed: the porn industry isn't immune to the recession.
Where does this leave us, though? Are we in our current position because we're people who don't possess good moral character? Some say we need a spiritual bailout and turn to imaginary friends in the sky for aid. In fact, I think we're quite the opposite of needing a spiritual bailout. If anything, we're in a great need of spiritual purging.
It seems that several of us have forgotten what really makes this country great: The idea that every man is created equal. It is in our inalienable right to love another person; one could say it's our god-given right. Marriage, as it turns out, isn't.
Our freedoms have been compromised by the devout and homophobia has spilled over the Supreme Court. Relying on hate mongers to pass laws and keep the interest of this country's people is as intelligent as letting the KKK decide if the Holocaust is historically correct.
It's sad thought that the very people who'd hinder love from flourishing are thought to be those of good moral character. It would seem that these people don't follow or understand the teachings they preach. Rather than accepting individuals into their lives, they cast stones and expel them from their chapels. It seems they'd rather seen a child go homeless and die on the streets than to fathom the idea of two men or women raising it. And from hate springs more hate – no one is born homophobic (or racist for that matter), it's their upbringing. And unlike homosexuality, this sort of mindset can be changed and needs to be changed if we're ever going to thrive in this time of need.
We need to escape this "Mrs. Grundyism," as A.C. Grayling called it, and progress toward a better future. (For those of you scratching your head on the definition, in his essay "Sex," he describes it as: the moral conservatism which presumes to tell other people what to think and how to behave.) By allowing the government or our so-called moral leaders to tell us who we can and cannot marry, we're losing a little bit of ourselves in the process. We cannot call ourselves the land of the free if there is an exception tagged on by an asterisk.
We come at last to the question that started all this: What does it take for a person to be of good moral character? Acceptance is one – possibly the most ideal trait. But is acceptance alone going to do it for us? Perhaps none of us will ever be a person of good moral character.