Friday, October 27, 2006

No sex in the champagne room.

I've been pondering freedom a lot lately.
Now I will be the first person to say that it is your right to be an asshole. But were is the point when we decide that hate speech is more egregious? We just make up levels of offense-- even God sees all sin as equal. Sometimes voters stand up in a majority and say "as for me I say this is wrong." But is that ok? Things like abortion, hate speech, whatever's the issue of the day. Majority is supposed to rule. But where do I get off saying that saying assholic things about gay people is a criminal offense? When you vote like that, you dictate for everyone.

There is a new referendum being voted upon here in Seattle. It regards strip clubs and permissible activities therein. It will force clubs to use brighter lights, eliminate champagne rooms and lap dances and put forth new location and license restrictions. There is already a ban on alcohol in strip clubs here. This law is obviously designed to shut down strip clubs in Seattle.

Now on one hand, I feel that it is everyone's right to go out and look at boobs, if said boobs are willingly displayed. Additionally, I know that some strippers are working this job to make money to support children etc. and couldn't make as much elsewhere. (Though I must say, if this weren't the last resort, some other thing would fill the void-- hopefully something not in the sex trade.)

On the other hand, I know that I don't want a strip club opening up on my block. When I lived in Lake City, up the street from the club, it wasn't just the club. It was the drunks coming and going to the clubs, the police calls, the brawls etc. that were the problem. I've noticed on Highway 99 that the different little towns all have different laws on casinos and strip clubs. The areas of 99 that are within city limits of towns that allow strip clubs and casinos are gross. Their business is limited to car dealerships. The towns that don't allow it have sit-down restaurants and grocery stores.

Furthermore, while I would like to believe that dancers just dance, I know that this is not the case. According to numerous sources, including the strippers I have befriended at the local coffee joint, illegal sex-acts occur all the time at strip clubs. On top of that, there was the huge scandal about club owners using profits to illegally influence lawmaking. None of which makes me particularly disposed towards these clubs.

Is it ethical for me to vote yes on this referendum if I am voting yes to protect and rehabilitate neighborhoods in the city that I love even if it is at the expense of workers in the sex-trade and those who enjoy their services (meaning people who, for the most part, I don't give a damn about)?

I have completed every other vote on my ballot, so if you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

Here is a recent Seattle Times article about the controversy.

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