Do you remember the Clint Eastwood western, Unforgiven, in which a group of prostitutes defied their brothel owner and hired gunmen to murder ranch hands who had violently attacked and mutilated one of them? The reckless and independent actions of these prostitutes set in motion a story that led to the deaths not only of the ranch hands, but also of many townsmen, including the noble brothel owner whose only ‘crime’ had been buying women to rent out for the sexual pleasure of other men.
The cautionary tale of fallen women gone rogue, and the disruptive effect they had on an otherwise traditional town and one of its profitable businesses came to mind this week as the Senate voted to pass Missouri Republican Senator Ann Wagner’s bill to protect traditional prostitution arrangements and the politicians who benefit from them. Every Republican Party member of the senate celebrated the bill by voting for it.
The plight of brothel owners parallels the plight of sexually excited politicians, far from home and the folks who elected them, and in need of comfort and release from the stresses of the work of trying to understand the demands and instructions of lobbyists.
With only brothel owners to deal with financial arrangements with the police to keep whiny, complaining ‘girls’ in line, politicians can rest assured of price stability and careful matching of each politician’s predilections with the right ‘girls’.
There is a great public benefit to having brothel owners in political capitols around the nation. Brothel owners can arrange proper charges for the women they own. If a ‘girl’ gets out of line, her brothel owner can beat her back into submission. And with only brothel owners to deal with financial arrangements with the police to keep whiny, complaining ‘girls’ in line, politicians can rest assured of price stability and careful matching of each politician’s predilections with the right ‘girls’.
Best of all, with brothel owners in charge, privacy can be more easily maintained. There are accidents, of course. Such as when rogue cops allowed news of Republican Senator David Vitter’s wild use of ‘girls’ and drugs to get into the press. A model of the modern Evangelical, for-profit “christian,” working to lay the ground for a Donald-style Republican administration, Vitter eventually felt forced to resign, just because his home voters didn’t like him spending taxpayer dollars for his own, not-so-private pleasures.
But the traditional model started to fray. Independent minded prostitutes started using the internet to screen and book their own clients. This was redolent of the prostitutes in Unforgiven, dealing with customers without the permission and supervision of their owners; Depriving the owners of their traditional cut of the ‘girl’s’ price; and, worst of all, disrupting the comfortable system that protected politicians’ privacy and provided discipline to “girls” who got out of line.
A traditional American business was under attack! And it was an attack that stuck directly at traditional values and social roles and structures. Women (most prostitutes are women – despite the fame of James Guckert) were beginning to assert influence over men, were beginning to take control of sexual situations and, worse, of their own business finances.
As part of the alt-white, Ann Wagner opposes women’s rights generally, and as a congressmember, she has voted for bills to allow financial institutions to defraud customers and put their own profit opportunities ahead of clients, while pretending to tell clients what’s in their best interest. She stridently opposes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and supports the Republican effort to overturn the Dodd-Frank financial regulations that help prevent another Cheney/Bush-style financial meltdown.
As for issues that directly affect women and children, Ann Wagner opposes ObamaCare and any government effort to provide actual healthcare. She believes that free enterprise means that insurance companies, private hospitals and Big Pharma should be able to advertise false promises, charge any prices they want, and only have government intervention when it is necessary to protect corporations from lawsuits by members of the rabble who are defrauded or get injured by malpractice. And she supports Betsy DeVos’ efforts to shut down public education, and replace it with taxpayer handouts and welfare to for-profit schools with no performance requirements or oversight.
This is all in the name of free enterprise and letting the profit-motive drive all decisions in business and governance.
Except when it comes to prostitution. Ann Wagner doesn’t oppose prostitution. She doesn’t oppose brothel owners and pimps:
- Selling ‘girls’ back and forth;
- Moving them around from city to city;
- Assigning them to whatever client the pimp wants; or,
- Taking all or most of the fees paid by clients for the ‘girls’ services.
But Ann Wagner is stridently opposed to individual women setting up their own online prostitution screening and booking arrangements. Ann Wagner is against prostitutes becoming free market, independent entrepreneurs, keeping the money they earn, without sharing it with an owner. Ann Wagner is against individual women screening prospective clients and refusing to serve politicians that a pimp might insist that they serve.
Perhaps most of all, as a Trump loyalist, well aware of the damage done by Czar Vlad’s troll farms, and revelations about how easily Facebook’s, and Experian’s data files were hacked and publicized, Ann Wagner is terribly worried about the potential that individual prostitute’s online bookings could be made available. Given the high percentage of Republican Party politicians, from Congress down to the smallest local venues, who have had their histories with both same and opposite sex prostitutes exposed, Ann Wagner’s concern may be well founded.
And Ann Wagner also believes that prostitutes are “fallen women”. They should not have the same rights as “decent” people, to enter business, to choose and charge their own customers, to keep the profits of their own work. So Ann Wagner, possibly with the help of the Koch brothers’ “ALEC” operation, crafted the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. (In the D.C. bubble world of acronyms, this doozy is “ASVFOSTA.” Try to say that three times fast.) The bill does not disrupt any existing sex trafficking operations run by brothel owners or pimps. The bill was designed to fight, and hopefully stop, prostitutes fleeing from abusive pimps and setting up their own operations on the internet.
A better, more accurate name for the bill would be the Brothel And Pimps Protection Act or “BAPPA”.
Republican politicians are not alone in their need for sexual adventure. Wilbur Mills may always be the poster boy for Democratic efforts to emulate Republican sexual excesses. So it can be no surprise that on March 21, 2018, the vast majority of Democratic Senators also voted for Ann Wagner’s BAPPA bill. They need to protect their own “needs.”
The only Democratic Senators who voted to allow prostitutes to have the same free enterprise rights that Ann Wagner wants most businessmen to have were Ron Wyden and Bernie Sanders. Who knew that Sanders and Wyden had more free enterprise spirit that the entire Republican senate!?
But then, Sanders and Wyden also believe that women are equal to men, and should have equal rights with men. This position is anathema to Ann Wagner and her Republican Party cronies.
We should see Republican Ann Wagner’s hypocritical BAPPA bill—and its direct conflict with all the faux “free enterprise” drivel she normally spews—as emblematic of the core issue for the 2018 midterm election cycle. The policies espoused by Republicans everywhere are inconsistent, anti-competition, anti-social, and anti-freedom. We should be proud enough, patriotic enough to say so. And concerned enough to work to unseat them from office.