During the Reagan Administration, as the country moved into a bizarre cultural arena of puritanism, false piety, and unbridled avarice, I found the anti-sex, pro-hysteria campaigns of the religious right to be frightening.
It had all started a few years earlier with Anita Bryant's campaign against homosexuals. In the South and Florida, I saw cars with bumper stickers proclaiming: "Kill A Queer For Christ"! Suddenly, as if it was 1952 again, people were being persecuted because of their sexual orientation and sexual activity.
It was as if the 1960s had never happened, and Saint Ronald Reagan folded this un-American movement into his campaign and brought a fake morality to the table. It actually became a cornerstone of his Presidency.
Reagan's participation in this anti-sex, anti-homosexuality, anti-woman cultural movement blinded him. He was so blinded by his hatred for all things sexual that when AIDS struck the Western Hemisphere, the United States in particular, he was mute. As western civilization was confronted with its first plague in decades, St. Reagan and his cabal were unable to see that the long term impact of AIDS might mean more than the elimination of homosexuals. Elimination of homosexuals (his own son included, I assume) was A-OK with St. Reagan. After all, it's in the Bible.
St. Reagan was hardly the most vociferous "conservative" in the anti-sex, anti-homosexuality movement; but we was certainly the most powerful. And he used his power imprudently.
During the reign of St. Reagan, conservatives managed to convince Americans to ignore economic policy changes that would change their lives forever, and to focus on the sex lives of those they do not like.
St. Reagan did such an amazing job disguising the true conservative agenda of economic ruin with irrational fear of sex, that both are now part of the American reality. There is no economy left, and what is left is not trickling down; and there is an amazingly successful conservative infrastructure working to deny people their rights (civil and human) based solely on their participation in sexual activity, their selection of partners, and their personal preferences.
So insane is our country, that we actually treat these people as if they have a valid point to make about human sexuality. In reality, the premise of their arguments is rooted in five-thousand-year-old writings of some lunatics in the desert.
Then Bill Clinton was elected president.
He was a young, virile, handsome, brilliant, charismatic man. He is still those things but with the word "young" removed from the description. The comparisons to John F. Kennedy flew through our lives and most of the comparisons were accurate.
Then his policy on monogamy was publicized and we learned he was more like JFK than we'd thought. JFK was suspected of marital infidelity in a different time. The 1960s was a time when sex was considered a positive thing, "cheating" was the burden of an otherwise good man, and what other people did behind closed doors was nobody's business but their own. So, when JFK's dalliances came to light, nobody cared.
Today, however, the media are more obsessed with JFK's sex life than ever before.
Mimi Alford was a 19-year-old intern at the White House when she began an affair with President Kennedy. She has kept her story private for decades. Now, at 68, she tells her story.
Read the shocking tale:
Once Upon a Secret