Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Nightmare of the Living Dead (and the Politicians That Feed Off of Its Death Force)

The Terri Schiavo story is already being covered to death, and others have summed it up better than we could but the more we've heard about this, the sadder the situation seems to be for all involved. In fact, it's reacing the point where it's so sad that it's becoming kinda funny, especially when you have people like Bill Frist saying things like "It is a sad day for all Americans who value the sanctity of life".

Now we've never met her and haven't seen her current condition, but the woman has been in this state for almost *15 years* and her husband, every doctor that's come into contact with her, and every judge to whom her case has been presented are all in agreement. Even the Florida Legislature refused to get involved. Unfortunately, the federal Republicans are trying to use this to pay back their debt to the far right wing of the party and in the process have removed any dignity that Ms. Schiavo and her family might have retained (and certainly, her parents et. al. deserve some of the blame for this. Of course they should want to do everything they can for their daughter, but at what point does this become more about them and not about what's best for her. There's a lot of self-serving going on here.). we here at Fightin' Words hope that today's ruling will result in some sanity being brought back to the proceedings, but there's little hope of that. If we were the betting type, we'd be more likely to put money on "Terri Schiavo's body will be eviscerated by an angry mob at her funeral" than "Terri Schiavo's family will be allowed proper distance and respect so as to mourn her passing in a way that won't cause a media circus".

But while the whole thing is sickening on the whole, we've learned a couple of interesting and heartening things:

* How are Ms. Schiavo's copious medical bills being paid? They're covered by a combination of funds from a successful malpractice lawsuit, Medicaid and the generosity of the not-for-profit hospice where her care is provided. Anyone else notice a couple Republican punching bags among that list? Didn't President Bush just propose a budget that cut $60 billion from Medicaid? Oh, the irony.

* What does the general public think of all of this? Well, according to this CNN poll, 56% of Americans believe that her feeding tube should be removed, while another 13% are unsure. Only 31% believe that life support measures should be continued. Whoever the politcians are grandstanding to, it ain't the majority and the Democrats would do well to take notice of this and use it to their advantage (note: that means no grandstanding or fiery rhetoric are needed. just play it straight).

Wherever Mrs. Schiavo ends up, we hope it's a far more peaceful place than her current situation.

For some more interesting takes on this situation, incuding Jeb Bush's blatant disregard for the report of his self-appointed guardian and the staggering hypocrisy of Tom DeLay and his inaction in a similar case in his own state of Texas, take a look at some entries by David Corn here and here.