March 21, 2005
Better Dead than Fed?
“Republicans only care about you if you're brain dead or not born, but in between they don't give a shit. Why can't the Dems make this point?” (From friend and travel author, Michael Shapiro)
Terms like “beneath contempt,” and “low-life, shameless opportunists,” don’t even scratch the surface of my disgust at what Republicans did this weekend. It was so full of contradiction, political conniving and selfishness that it takes the breath out of me. Where to begin?
Well, with the Conniver-in-Chief I suppose, who dropped everything and flew back from his Crawford, Texas ranch to make damn sure his signing of the Schiavo bill got into the same news cycle as Congress’ passage of this diabolical piece of “legislation.”
President Bush said in a statement just after signing the bill at 1 a.m.:
"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo, who live at the mercy of others."
This from a man who, during his five years as governor of Texas, dropped the hammer on 131 death row prisoners. And, when asked about how he felt about that in 2000 Bush had no “substantial doubt.”
"I'm confident that every person that has been put to death in Texas under my watch has been guilty of the crime charged, and has had full access to the courts."
So do we now have two mortal humans who can never be wrong – the Pope and GWB? Not likely. Cold, hard statistics argue otherwise.
Since 1975 defense groups have won acquittals for 120 death row inmates around the country, almost all of the over the objections of state prosecutors and various State governors who were determined to kill them ASAP.
Therefore it’s virtually a statistical certainty that Gov. GW Bush executed some number of innocent people --- individuals who, unlike Shiavo, had fully intact and functioning cerebral cortexes.
George W. Bush and his Christian fundamentalist supporters also worry themselves into lather over the fate of three-cell embryos in Petri dishes yet can see no contradiction in their support for the death penalty. These pious folk will be quick to explain that there is a big difference; the unborn human embryo is pure, innocent while those on death row are guilty of sinful crimes.
Whoa.. hold it right there your forgetfulness. What about Original Sin? That embryo, be it in a dish or a uterus, is filled with Original Sin and not in the clear until born AND baptized, or am I wrong about that? Has that rule changed? (Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we mix superstition and legislation.)
As for Republicans in Congress… gag me. There they were, the same hypocrites who, just a few short months ago, refused to renew the ban of assault weapons. Nevertheless, there they were speechifying how it was their moral responsibility to pass a law to save one brain-dead woman in Florida. Hey, what about all the non-brain-dead who are now brain AND body-dead because of our overly liberal gun laws?
(Guns? old news.. not important… must find FOX cameras…get into picture with the I-voted-to-have-Terri’s-feeding-tube-put-back-in members .…. Running for reelection next year… ummm.. culture of life, you know… where are those damn TV news cameras? Shit.. did I miss the goddamn photo op?”)
Then there’s Florida. I have a question for its governor, Jeb Bush. Jeb lead the fight in Florida for keeping Schiavo’s body alive.
Yo! Jeb, before we talk about Terri, might you explain how a two-time registered sex offender, a man with over 24 convictions for various crimes was, first, out of jail to begin with, and second, able to move around your state unsupervised? How was he allowed to be in a position to kidnap, molest and murder a 9-year old neighborhood girl – who, BTW, also had a fully functioning cerebral cortex, at least until recently. Maybe you were too busy grandstanding in the Shiavo case to worry about such things. Well, now you have two dead girls on your hands bro.. a fully dead 9-year old who really didn’t want to die, and another one who wants to finish dying but who you let go. How do you sleep at night?
Jeb’s got some tall explaining to do on this one. The only question is whether the mainstream media will push the issue or give him another pass.
One more thing on Jeb-the-Compassionate. This is the same guy who sold his services as a lobbyist to a crooked Cuban businessman who bilked Medicare out of several hundred million dollars in the 1980’s. I wonder how many elderly Floridians suffered from lack of medical services because of that little affair? (You can read about here)
Another argument the Christian Right is using is that starving a person like Schiavo to death is cruel. On this we agree. But here too the hypocrisy is stupefying. The Right to Lifers making this charge are the very same bunch that has consistently blocked doctors from smoothing the way to death for the terminally ill and brain dead patients like Schiavo. This sad tale would have been over years ago if a doctor could have safely administered a merciful IV full of morphine to poor Terri’s lingering chassis.
As the so-called Right-to-Lifers pontificate about the Shiavo case in the days (weeks, months) ahead, the mainstream media will have many opportunities to probe them on the above contradictions. But will they? Don’t bet on it. Media folk are deathly afraid of being painted as “anti-religion.” Being hostile to Christian dogma is now what it was like to be painted a “Pinko” or “Commie” in the 1950s. If a newsperson should get caught on the wrong side of this issue he or she is sent off to reeducation camp (.. now euphemistically called “sensitivity training.) in a flash.
The Schiavo fiasco is just another indication of the power of intimidation the Christian Right now has within the Republican Party. What amazes me is that how it has completely swamped the Republican Party’s traditional “government-should-keep-its-grubby-hands-out-of-our-private-lives” platform. The party of fiscal responsibility, state rights and small government has been transformed before our very eyes into the party of reckless deficits, diminishing state rights and a level of government intrusion into private lives only an old KGB agent could love.
Of all people Republicans themselves should feel the hair rise on the back of their necks as they listen to their leaders grandstand the Schiavo issue. Because it can only be a matter of time and fate before Tom DeLay and his gang of unholy-rollers jackboot their way into the middle of a family crisis near you.
By Stephen Pizzo
Raconteur at Large