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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Video Insiders Are Cringing at the Prospects of a Bush Presidency

8 Nov, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

So far, the presidential election has had a positive effect on the video rental business. Retailers around the country on Election Night reported that despite the drama and fireworks of the closest presidential race in 40 years, people are not glued to their TV sets and, instead, are renting videos.

One regular reader tells me he was a bit concerned, given the high turnout and close race, that he would not experience the customary uptick in rental activity he's seen in elections past, but his fears proved unfounded and he did as well as he ever did.

And yet video insiders are cringing at the prospects of a Bush presidency. When the Republicans are in charge of the White House, they say, there tends to be a lot less tolerance of free speech; veterans say that when Clinton was swept into office eight years ago, they noticed an immediate change in attitude toward the legislation of morality that had become commonplace under the Bush (Sr.) and Reagan administrations.

What to expect under Bush the Second? Retailers who rely heavily on adult to lift them through the hard times could very well see an increase in prosecutions. The celebrated Tin Drum case, an anomoly during the Clinton years, could well become the rule rather than the exception, and while retailers in that case ultimately triumphed, observers are not so sure of the outcome should a similar situation arise under Bush.

As a journalist, I have always been an ardent foe of any attempts by government to impose its moral bent on the public. Even as a child, I relished reading books that had been banned through the years, including J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.

On the video side, I'm not a personal fan of adult entertainment, and yet it makes my hair bristle to think that someone could get in trouble for renting or selling this stuff to consenting adults. Freedom of speech was one of the founding principles of this country, an important tenet in the so-called Land of the Free--and a right we must protect and defend no matter what the guy in the White House or his lieutenants think.

Hopefully George W. Bush will be a little more farsighted than his Republican predecessors, and be as fair and nonpartisan in making appointments as Clinton has been. It may be the will of the people that he serve us as our next President, but that doesn't give him the right to subjugate everyone's inherent free will so he may advance his own particular sense of morality or political sensibility.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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