The sixth episode of West Wing, Best Wing is out, and we talk hate crimes legislation, sex ed, and why we could never do CJ's job. Listen to the episode here, follow us on Twitter here, and don't be afraid to show us some love! They don't call us the Second Most Popular West Wing Podcast for nothing!
One of the main issues in Episode 13, Take Out the Trash Day, is the release of a report on sex education, that shows that (shocker) comprehensive sex education is more effective in reducing pregnancies and STDs than abstinence-only education. Instead of highlighting this report, and creating a fight on the House floor about sex education, the Barlet administration buries the report until after the midterm elections. In return, a Congressman agrees not to hold a hearing on Leo McGarry and his past drug use.
This turns out to be a lie, but we'll get to that in future episodes.
I was researching American sex education this week, and I'm shocked at what I found. Apparently, only 24 states (and DC) require that sex education be taught in schools, and only 20 of those states require that the information in the program be medically accurate.
On the flip side, 37 states require that abstinence education be taught, and 26 states require that it be stressed. Interestingly, both New York and New Hampshire do not mandate sex education, and when doing HIV education, New York is expected to "stress" abstinence (though they are allowed to mention condoms).
New Mexico does mandate that sex ed be taught in schools, but doesn't mandate that it be medically accurate, and as someone who took New Mexico sex ed in a public school, I can vouch that there were times when it wasn't medically accurate (my 7th grade teacher told some big lies about the IUD).
Most shocking to me was that in four states in this great nation, the only negative information about differing sexual orientations can be discussed. So if you're an LGBTQ kid in Alabama, Texas, Utah or South Carolina, it is state mandated that your orientation not be presented in a positive light. It is my sincere hope that all those LGBTQ kids in those states getting lied to now will one day become badass politicians and overturn those laws. We're all rooting for you!
The episode also covers hate crime legislation, a bit anachronistic, as this aired in 1999, and we didn't get hate crime legislation that protected LGBTQ people until 2008 (thanks, Obama!). We also cover why the President needed 15 pens, what an advance man is, the new reality of journalism, and our differing opinions on forgiveness in a job with such high security (in this, as in everything, I am Sam, Molly is Toby). And we wanted to clarify that, when we say "everyone who won a Pulitzer was a man" we meant Arts Pulitzers, not all Pulitzers overall.
I don't know why you're still reading this, when you could be listening to the episode! We get funnier with each passing week, so get in on the ground floor of this rocket ship while you still can.