By Todd Vickers
Politics and sex can exist apart but those interested in sex should heed the 2016 election results. Since we shouldn’t rely on reforms in a conservative political environment, any change becomes a social not a political responsibility. The reasoning offered here also applies to issues beyond sexuality. Before talking about conscious social change let’s take a broad overview.
Any minority existing outside the status quo is stifled in a conservative environment. I’ll mention some relevant sexual issues, if you are interested in sex education, polyamory, LGBTQ, sex work, reproductive rights or you simply have a taste for a variety of lovers, freedom means having more and hopefully better choices. That means trying new things.
The ideas that Donald Trump ran on were not innovation but tropes from the past like posturing through talking tough, tax cuts for the rich, fear of minorities and pandering to religion, etc. Trump is not visionary, he is a throwback to an older status quo.
The phrase status quo is a nice way to say mediocrity that resists change. Let’s not forget all progress e.g. capitalism over feudalism and woman’s suffrage began with people who conceived of something better. These people experienced painful arbitrary limits and disappointment with the status quo.
For many of us, the change that gives birth to discovery comes from the failure of something we relied upon, maybe a company we worked years to help, threw us overboard, or maybe a relationship we relied on and maintained through devotion and sacrifice withered, or a social evil grieved us do to mistreatment of ourselves or a loved one. Many things that might provoke us to want change.
Unless we are born visionaries, then it’s the failure of what we’ve known that will inspire change. Regardless of why we dare to step outside the known, innovators are a minority and must try new things either by themselves or in interested groups. Our own lives become the proving ground of trial and error. To find something better, we must venture OUTSIDE of the status quo.
It’s difficult to trust eccentricity because we suspect we’re more likely to meet crazy, stupid or criminal people than we will visionaries and innovators. The curse of mediocrity is viewing the unknown as dangerous when every advance began with a minority of support. Such fear motivates a willingness to endure the despair of imitation and redundancy. Our own US Declaration of Independence states,
“all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
If you want a life of greater choice, not simply a blend of old beliefs, mistakes, habits, and routine, mixed with amusing television and diversions, then you will need to step into the unknown because that’s where discovery happens. The unknown is outside the status quo.
Since we can’t rely on reforms in a conservative political environment, the change must be social NOT political. Social change requires respect and rigorous scrutiny of new ideas and lifestyles. That means challenging the status quo, the mediocrity in own lives, in small or large groups. We welcome the light of new ideas among those who understand that there is much to be discovered in life, to be shared among the people who are good company. It is this opportunity that presents itself to us now. We can welcome minorities, and respect the freedoms of people who live differently from us. We can argue, not to win, but rather to understand and share the best that is known or thought in the world. We don’t need an ideal political atmosphere to do these thing, but we will need integrity, bravery and honesty that is so daring, it’s willing to see not only the flaws in our beliefs but can also be open to seeing something better beyond our beliefs.
Though I have not quoted any particular author or text other than the Declaration of Independence, I would like to credit the following for their influence on this piece.
The founding fathers of the United States, for the reference to the declaration of independence.
Mathew Arnold for his views on the purpose of critical scrutiny
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar for his remarkable views on social VS political reform.
Robert Briffault for his contribution to the understanding of progress and finally