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Will Congress Protect Me From The Jetsons?

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Being a writer is a very solitary profession. A lot of time is spent figuring out ways to avoid writing. On one of those occasions, I was channel surfing through the 200 or so channels that I have on my cable system. I happened across a retro channel dedicated to old cartoons. An episode of The Jetsons caught my eye, but it was something that caught my ear that shook me to the core. Wife Jane Jetson was lamenting that she no longer understood her 15-year-old daughter, Judy Jetson. On the surface, parents not understanding teenage children would not be so earth shattering. But Jane Jetson went on to say that she was only 33-years-old. Now I’m not a math wiz, but even I was able to figure out that Jane gave birth to Judy when she was only 18-years-old. Jane was a teenage mom. I don’t know how old her husband George was, but it is safe to assume that he was also a teenager when he and Jane first had sex. For all I know, they may not have even been married. What were the cartoon writers thinking in 1962? Where were the network censors? More importantly, why hadn’t Congress protected me from this assault on my young, impressionable psyche?

Since the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the most egregious attack that this country has ever known, Congress has devoted hundreds of hours of committee and floor time debating whether four letter words uttered on radio and television or the accidental glimpse of a woman’s breast during a nationally televised football game (a reprehensible act of visual terrorism happening so quickly that, unless you still-framed your digital video recorder, you would have missed it entirely) is contributing to the moral decay of civilization as we know it. The result of “Breastgate” was the imposition of millions of dollars in fines against the offending television stations. The Federal Communications Commission also threatened both television and radio stations with fines of up to $500,000 should they even accidentally hurl an expletive across the public airwaves.

I’m feeling better these days as I settle down to an evening of television with my unregulated microwave popcorn and bottled water. I drink bottled water because fines for introducing pollutants into the public water supply average a paltry $50,000, but I can rest assured that my mind will be kept pure.

In 1962, Congress worried about the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis. The current Congress seems more concerned about an imagined war on indecency than the very real war in Iraq and the threat of terrorism occurring on our soil. Apparently, the 1962 Congress was more concerned with national safety than what was being broadcast on radio and television because they never once brought up for debate whether or not a cartoon show called The Jetsons was promoting teenage pregnancy.

In 1962, politicians debated legislation aimed at protecting the lives and freedoms of all Americans. Morality remained a personal…not a political choice.

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