Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reasons For Starting A Fight

In general, we're not really into picking fights.

That's not to say that we haven't gotten into our individual and collective share of tussles from time to time. If it's something we believe in, we'll stand up for it strongly and proudly. We've even gotten into heated exchanges with fellow staffers over differences of opinion.

Not everyone is like our small group - and not all of us are as assertive about their beliefs as others.

Starting fights for no reason, however, is something we don't understand at all.

To those who wonder why Nebraska State Senator Brenda Council introduced LB 192 - a sex education bill - it may seem at first glance like she's just picking a fight without cause. That such a bill isn't likely to pass in the ever-more ideologically conservative Nebraska Unicameral shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with our state, or its current legislative makeup.

It's not the educated people Senator Council is worried about.
And she's not worried about "winning" by getting her bill passed.

What Council is concerned about is the growing number of Nebraska high school students - especially in urban areas, like the region of Omaha she represents - that are being infected with sexually transmitted diseases. According to recent statistics, Douglas County, Nebraska, currently has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country. Teens' seeming ignorance about how to prevent STDs proves the current methods of sex education don't seem to be getting through to them.

Sen. Council thinks it would be a good idea if Nebraskans did everything they could to stem the numbers of infected teens, so that Nebraskans could save some young people from a life filled with prescription medications and behavioral restrictions.

We can't disagree with her on that.

There are those who don't see eye to eye with her, however.

Media outlets, politicians, and partisans on both ends of the spectrum have, as expected, jumped into the fray. Each is supporting their favorite pet causes, whether that cause is the unrealistic standard of teenage abstinence, thorough and complete sexual education - or too often in the case of the media, continuing to propagate the fight between those on the far left and far right.

While our views on abortion and parental responsibility differ, we all agree - the best way to preemptively treat a sexually transmitted disease is to never catch one.

Sen. Council's idea doesn't seem to be so much to "win" this battle by passing her proposed law. Rather, she seems to want to generate discussion and awareness - and maybe some action - on the outsized problem of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers in Nebraska.

If that's truly Sen. Council's logic, to not start a fight, so much as to start a discussion, we have to say...it worked on us.

We hope it works to generate further preventative action on the parts of others as well.

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