Forty-two U.S. senators, most but not all of them Republicans, sent a letter to the federal Justice Department this week asking Atty. Gen Eric Holder to crack down on “major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.” The senators didn’t name any names, nor did they try to define what they meant by hardcore, but they asked that “the FBI and U.S. Attorneys work together to combat the growing scourge of obscenity in America.”
According to the letter, “we” (meaning either the 42 senators or, like, everyone) “know more than ever how illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children and sex trafficking.”
Well. We at SexIs—and we’re not trying to speak for anyone but ourselves, here—have not noticed the growing scourge, and we do in fact oppose violence against women, addiction, harm to children and sex trafficking. We think the country has policies and laws regarding all of those things. We think that dedicating more law enforcement resources to questionable prosecutions of alleged pornographers is a distraction from combating the real issues and likely to be an affront to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and we think the 42 senators are wrong. We hope the Justice Department pretty much ignores this grandstanding letter and are glad that the other 58 senators did not sign it.
Prosecuting pornographers is something that both Republican and Democratic administrations have increasingly seen as a waste of time, effort and resources. But we thank the 42 senators for reminding us that we should not take constitutional rights or common sense for granted at the highest levels of government.