Thursday, March 31

Feeding the beast.

I know I said I wasn't going to talk about Terri Schiavo anymore, but given that she passed away this morning, I felt like I had to say something. I hope she's in a better place now, and I hope that her family members -- husband and blood relatives alike -- are permitted to grieve for her without interference from the rest of the world, and stay strong in the wake of their loss. I didn't agree with her parents, and I didn't care for some of the people they elected to associate with as they tried to stave off their daughter's passing, but they were in an unimaginably awful position, and there's no way I can say with any degree of certainty that, were I put in their shoes, I wouldn't do exactly the same thing. And anyone who thinks they can is kidding themselves.

Now then. To the protestors, the charlatan Congressmen, the religious hucksters who went down to Florida to feed off Terri Schiavo just as hungrily as any maggot -- only unlike the maggot, without doing the courtesy of letting her die first -- leave this family alone, dammit. Go the fuck home. You got what you wanted, didn't you? You've got your corpse. Now go home and leave this family in peace.

I mean, that's all they really wanted out of this, isn't it? A corpse? A martyr? Particularly to the politicians who brought shame on themselves and everyone associated with them by sticking their big noses in this business, the Schiavo case was like abortion -- they claimed to want action to be taken, but didn't really want action to be taken, because if they got what they claimed they wanted, they wouldn't have the Schiavo case to make a huge stink about anymore. Terri Schiavo was always worth more to them as a corpse than as a living, breathing human being.

Take a second to imagine what would've happened if they'd gotten their way, if Congress's stunt legislation had actually worked or if Jeb Bush had done what the protestors were clamoring for him to do and busted into Terri's room, six-guns blazing, and scooped her up into protective state custody. Sure, the Republicans could've campaigned on that, could've run TV ads that said "Vote for us, we saved Terri!" -- for maybe two weeks. Then people's attention would've started to flag. Without the sword of Damocles hanging over her head, a woman who can't walk, talk, or do anything other than blink just isn't that compelling, and certainly not the least bit triumphant -- and sooner or later people would've figured that out. But I thought if we just waited long enough, she'd jump out of bed, recite the Gettysburg Address and run a marathon!* How come she's still just lying around like that? A few Republicans might start questioning what good it was doing for the state of Florida to spend all that money to keep her alive. Worse, those same conservative Christians shrieking at the top of their lungs about the sanctity of life, the ones who always talk about what a wonderful reward God's kingdom of heaven is, would start wondering to what purpose she was being deprived of it.

But a dead body -- that'll get people's attention! That'll get those donation checks flowing! As long as Terri did eventually kick the bucket, Tom DeLay and Randall Terry and James Dobson could hoist her corpse high and shout, Look what the liberals did! They killed Terri! "We saved her" was never going to be as galvanizing a battle cry as "They killed her." So all the right-wingers had to do was make a big show out of giving a rat's ass about Terri's life while they hung around waiting for her to shuffle off her mortal coil, and when she finally passed away they could position themselves as heroes despite having utterly failed at what they claimed to have set out to do. Genius! It is truly rare for anyone to have so much cake and yet get to eat so much of it, too.

So now Tom DeLay gets to wear his halo a little bit longer. Randall Terry gets to hang out with the Schindlers some more, each photo op further cementing his status as their new bestest buddy. All those protestors who tried to get on TV by bringing Terri cups of water -- water she most likely would've aspirated because she couldn't freaking swallow, and therefore would've effectively drowned in -- they have their corpse now. Congratulations. You went down to Florida for the same reason people went to gladiator matches -- to see a dead body -- and you weren't disappointed. You lost and you still get to go home feeling triumphant. You got your corpse, you got your camera time, you got everything.

So go home now. We both know you're not going to be showing up with any signs or cups of water the next time a juvenile ends up on Death Row, or an innocent person winds up dead in an Iraqi prison, so just go home. Go home, go back to your churches and your right-wing call-in shows where you can pat yourselves on the back about how hard you fight for a "culture of life." And try not to think about the feeding tube you've stuck into that "culture of life," the one that requires a steady diet of corpses to keep it going.

* Line Stolen from courtesy of Barbara Gillett. All rights reserved.


Cassie Schoon said...

Well done, Doug. Better than I could have done.

Anonymous said...

With some degree of certainty, I know what I would have done. Being in their shoes is not necessary. Similar shoes will also provide insight.

If you really love them, you grieve and say goodbye.

Josh M. said...

"South Park" tackled this issue last night, and (as usual) summed it up perfectly. Check it out if you can. (And yes, I was aghast at the Republicans's actions these past few weeks).

Anonymous said...

nice, doug. best post since gwbwypgn, in my opinion.

yoyogurl said...

Mmm. I am pretty sure I wouldn't find myself a vulger anti-abortion right wing freak to be my spokesperson. But that's just me.

Still, well said. I wish they would define what they mean by "life" because I don't think that word means what they think it means, if you know what I mean.

DAve said...

Hopefully we'll all come to the realization that "living" and "existing" aren't the same thing.

Terri Schiavo hadn't been living for quite some time now.

Matt said...

Hello, i am just a visitor. You write well and I respect your opinion. I disagree with you and the other commenters however. Why dig for right wing conspiricy theories? You can't trust a politician, we all know that. But to say that people that geniunely hold life in the highest and most precious reguards want a corpse is dangerously cynical.

Anonymous said...

But to say that people that geniunely hold life in the highest and most precious reguards want a corpse is dangerously cynical.

The point I think Doug was trying to make was that Terri was worth more to the pro-lifers as a dead woman than as a living one. It's like the staunch anti-abortion rhetoric that's out there. They don't show pictures of the babies that are actually born. It's always dead fetuses from after an abortion and go after the so-called "pro-abortionists" (a piece-of-crap label) and say, "Look what you're doing!"

Same logic. Only substitute a dead fetus for a 41-year-old woman who's been, in a sense, dead since 1990. Now they're saying, "Look what you pro-euthanasia people have done." Terri's now their martyr.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

That was my point, that those people don't actually "hold life in the highest and most precious regard" -- except when there's a camera nearby.