ROC EDITORIAL: THE '92 ELECTIONS, VICTORIES FOR FREEDOM FORCES! CENSORS ON THE RUN?

By: Randy Lee Payton


In our Spring issue of THE ROC, we predicted Election Year '92 would be a "watershed year" in the struggle to keep Freedom of Expression alive in America. Little did we foresee, however, that the so-called "religious," pro-censorship Right would so overplay its takeover of the Republican Party that it would cause a mass desertion, not just of 'Reagan Democrats,' and undecideds but even of many long-time GOP voters!--away from the 'publican fold, effectively dooming the Bush/Quayle ticket. Many viewers tuning in last August's 'publican Convention thought they had mistakingly flipped across the Night of the Living Dead: The spectacle of a GOP shanghaid by the openly bigoted, mean-spirited Pat Robertson/Pat Buchanan wing proved to be chilling and sobering to the American citizenry. R.O.C. couldn't have produced a better prime time expose' of these characters then they had (inadvertently) produced themselves! Soon after the August Convention, 'publican candidates throughout the country couldn't distance themselves fast enough from the loony Robertson Right when the polls showed the Right's so-called "family values," a cynical code term for pro-censorship, anti-women's rights, anti-gay bigotry just wasn't making it with the voting public. ("Americans had been waiting on their fishes and loaves for 12 years, and terms like 'family values' came out sounding like 'Wait another 12," observed HOOT editor Iry Oslin.) Though the so-called "religious" Right is far from defeated, the recent election did serve to roundly DISCREDIT it as a political force and further isolate it from the American citizenry--a clear victory in the struggle for cultural democracy in America.

S.1521, Measure 9, Erotic Music Bill Shot Down!

In related news, we are happy to report that the efforts of the grass-roots anti-censorship movement throughout the country has paid off: S.1521, the so-called Pornography Victims Compensation Act, is officially "stillborn." (Readers of THE ROC know S.1521 as the proposed bill scapegoating sexually-explicit artists, musicians, writers and publishers as somehow responsible for sex crimes.) After a year and-a-half of our fighting this legislation, it's sponsors ultimately failed to muster the chutzpah to bring it to a full Senate hearing before this session's adjournment on October 10. Between S.1521's demise, the resounding refutation of the 'religious' Right by the public in the national elections, as well as rejection of the anti-gay, pro censorship Measure 9 initiative by voters in Oregon, along with the casting out on Constitutional grounds of the Washington State Erotic Music Bill, a strong message has been sent to legislators and budding politicos everywhere that new winds are blowing and the political hay to be made from capitulating to bigoted, right wing, fundamentalist forces just isn't what it used to be!

ON WITH THE STRUGGLE!

While we at R.O.C. are excited about these changes in the country's political-social climate, we see the continuing need for strong initiatives from citizens for Free Expression as now more crucial than ever, to keep the pro-censorship forces on the run. The proverbial "pendulum" appears poised to swing back towards a greater appreciation for social and cultural freedom. A new movement of creative artists, musicians, performers, writers and film makers is arising from the "underground" to set a hot new pace for the '90's. R.O.C. and THE ROC stand ready to join with all interested parties in taking advantage of this expanding social 'space' to support and fortify this emerging Creative Community while continuing to organize to decisively send the would-be censors packing. -RLP-

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