They say the most important lesson of the Terri Schiavo spectacle is that everyone ought to write a living will. Wrong. The most important lesson is that religious and/or faux-religious right-wing nutbag Republicans will stop at nothing to appeal to their base, and it ought to scare the living feces out of you that these freaks control the government.
It's a fish-in-a-barrel kind of thing to point out the GOP hypocrisy involved with the shameless spectacle that was Congress' Sunday-night special session, during which the GOP passed a bill sending the Schiavo matter to federal court. But I still think it's useful.
So, here's a handy-dandy guide to lying, thieving, hypocritical Republican hypocrisy, as it relates to Ms. Schiavo:
-- They talk about the "sanctity of life," yet they support the death penalty.
-- They talk about the "sanctity of marriage," yet they demonize the husband who says he's carrying out Terri's wishes to be allowed to die.
-- They talk about "states' rights," yet that applies only when they agree with what a state government and/or court is doing. When they don't like it, they bring in the feds hot and heavy (see Bush v. Gore).
-- They talk about what wonderful spiritual enrichment awaits us when we go see Jesus, yet instead of letting someone who has said she wants to go see him go, they would prefer to keep her around so they can videotape her in a semi-catatonic state and score political points with right-to-life fanatics.
-- They talk about respect for the "rule of law," but that only applies when the judicial system's outcome is the one they seek.
-- They express disdain for "activist judges," yet when judges seek not to intervene in what most regard as a private matter between a husband, a wife and her doctors, they hold a special session of Congress to find an activist federal judge who will agree with them.
-- They claim liberals play political games with critical issues, yet they distribute talking points discussing how this Schiavo circus will appeal to the base, perhaps putting Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson on the ropes in his upcoming '06 race for re-election.
"What Tom Delay and the Republicans are doing is just cruel," says Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Swissvale) "They're making medical decisions on the House floor watching a four-year-old videotape. You had guys down here playing doctor, psychiatrist, judge and jury."
Doyle was not among the Democrats who voted for this nonsense, as they weasel their way toward the "middle" (whatever that is) to try to stay in office. He also voted against the Iraq War. Unlike many of his colleagues, he still has a spine.
Doyle is pro-life but doesn't see this case as a pro-life issue. "Government is sticking its nose into the private affairs of a husband and wife," he says. "They're all saying [Michael Schiavo] is a horrible man. They don't know this guy." But of course they don't have to know him to condemn him, just as they don't have to examine his wife to come to medical conclusions.
I happened to be in Florida during the Sunday-night circus. I watched the revolting TV spectacle with my girlfriend and her parents. The parents are represented in Congress by Republican David Weldon, a physician whom my girlfriend's mother, Robyn, had met. A nurse herself, Robyn commented that Weldon seemed levelheaded and hoped that as a physician he would oppose this. Turns out he was one of the ringleaders.
"They want to be the executive, judicial and legislative branches all at once," says Rep. Doyle. Now, that may be going too far. They're willing to allow the existence of other branches of government, just as long as they toe the theocratic line.
"The Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy," says Republican Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut. Of course, he's a moderate Republican, and if you're not in with the nutbags, you're a vanishing breed in the party. That's why former New Jersey governor and Dubya's former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman wrote a book called It's My Party Too, a plea for the inclusion of moderates in the GOP.
Well, moderate Republicans, it's your party, and you can cry if you want to. But you ought to be ashamed.