Saturday, March 19, 2005

When life is nothing more than a political football

I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but in here in the Tampa
Bay region of Florida, you can't turn on the radio or television, without hearing about the Terri Schiavo case.

The decision on Friday by a Florida judge, allowing the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, set off a firestorm in the quiet Sunshine State community of Pinellas Park. The fallout from this case has sent tremors bounding outward, as politicians, particularly of the conservative, pro-life stripe, have seized this as an opportunity to grandstand and play to the religious-right peanut gallery, eagerly watching from the sidelines. Terri Schiavo has become this group's patron saint and poster child, of all things most holy as it relates to their position.

Interestingly, Pinellas Park is only a few miles away from where I am staying and I have seen firsthand some of the truly warped and religiously-rabid types this case is attracting. Yesterday, while driving eastward on SR-60, a flatbed truck decorated with flags and pro-life slogans passed me, headed towards Clearwater, with a caravan of honking and shouting pro-lifers trailing behind.

Each evening, the nightly news broadcast is filled with the pictures of protestors praying, crying, shouting and generally carrying on in a fashion that I can only characterise as loony. I'm at a loss to know why this poor woman, who's been in a vegetative state for the past 15 years, has become a lighting-rod for the right's moonbat brigade. Their refusal to allow her to die with a shred of human dignity has been snatched from her, all in the name of their perverted interpretation of religion.

What's most frightening to me, in addition to the revelation of how warped and twisted a segment of the U.S. population apparently is, seeing the U.S. Congress issue subpoenas to Schiavo's husband and her caregivers. As this morning's St. Petersburg Times editorial stated, "What should be a somber private moment has again turned into a national circus, and congressional Republicans are largely responsible. They know nothing about Schiavo's severe brain damage, her wishes to avoid feeding tubes or years of reviews by medical experts and the courts. Yet House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, told the world Schiavo does not want to die. These are dangerous men who will say anything to sway the public and pander to conservative groups who have made this a crusade."

Dangerous men indeed! I fear for our nation when men (and women) like these, wedded only to their narrow ideology, are in charge of our affairs and crafting legislation that affects all of us.

1 comment:

ChefDunn said...

All the more reason to get your wishes down in writing... while you still can...