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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Swinging The Hammer

Enough already with the endless Schiavo-gazing. Have we all missed something, or did the Republicans suddenly forget that they're supposed to be the party of Keeping Big Gubmint Off Your Back? It's no surprise to those of us who've been paying attention all along, of course, but they've become so much more brazen these days.

Remember when they used to whine about "states rights"? That was clearly just code for the southern mossbacks, who refuse to do the world a favor and die already. The results prove the lie on a multitude of issues, from the consistent attempts to override state initiatives on things like medicinal pot, euthanasia, and gay marriage, to the current (seemingly endless) game of cat-and-feeding-tube they've been playing with the life of Terri Schiavo.

In an earlier post, perhaps we were not abrupt enough on this subject. Since then, a proliferation of "news" stories ( and more importantly, the attendant idiot-on-the-street responses from John and Jane Q. Public, whipped up by the always-opportunistic pro-life activists) make one fact stunningly conspicuous by its very absence -- a great number of supposedly sentient Americans apparently don't realize that feeding tubes get pulled every day, almost always by direct request of the person in question. The argument is not whether or not Terri Schiavo had explicitly made such a request preventively at the early and hale age of 26; we are submitting that the shock and revulsion that so many people have publicly registered is so utterly ignorant of everyday reality, it's hardly worthy of sensible acknowledgement.

Then again, explaining this to people who participate in public prayer vigils is a complete waste of time; if they were smart enough to understand the concept, they'd probably be smart enough to have jobs. They seem blissfully unaware of just how contemptible their public piety really is -- unless they're devoting at least as much time actually helping the sick, rather than using them to pimp Their Cause.

Back to the Republicans. The Democrats have taken seemingly great care (which would be a first for them in many a moon) to let the sanctimonious, hypocritical quartet of DeLay, Santorum, Frist, and Bush take the lead on this non-issue. And rightly so; apparently the majority of Americans have registered their disapproval with this meddling nonsense:

Polls and analyses suggest that Republicans could find themselves out of step with many Americans, especially if Democrats find a more unified voice on the subject. An ABC News poll released yesterday concluded that "Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, with sizable majorities saying Congress is overstepping its bounds for political gain."

By 63 to 28 percent, Americans support the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, which her husband says would be her wish. Seventy percent of the respondents said it was inappropriate for Congress to get involved as it has. And 67 percent said they believe that elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so mainly for political reasons.


Not that the Democrats are blameless in this; they could stand to be a bit more forthright and pro-active, but it's understandable why they prefer to err on the side of caution in such an emotionally-charged issue. There's not much upside in actively calling for starving a human being to death, and as the poll demonstrates, a preponderance of Americans plainly see the indecency in the Republicans' grandstanding here. They know a political football when they see it, and for once, they care -- because they know that the next time, it could be them kept tethered to a machine against their will in perpetuity.

Special note should be made of Tom DeLay, who has made a point of insulting Michael Schiavo, and attacking Schiavo's manhood in as public and tawdry a fashion as possible. Schiavo spent seven years carting his wife around, trying to get her the best care available, taking her to every specialist, even getting a nurse's license so he could care for her better, and all for naught.

Compare and contrast with family-values hero Newt Gingrich, who famously served one of his wives divorce papers in the cancer ward, and later got his cock sucked by his secretary for the same reason Clinton did -- because it "wasn't cheating". Hopefully DeLay's district finally comes to its senses and sends his useless ass packing next year. When he can comport yourself ethically for a couple weeks in a row, then maybe he can talk shit about someone else.

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