The Terri Schiavo case
Published Mar 23, 2005 1:34 PM
The tragedy that befell Terri Schiavo, her husband and her parents when, 15
years ago, she suffered brain damage that left her in a persistent vegetative
state, is real enough. According to her doctors, there can be no happy
resolution of her condition.
What is not real but is fake, cynical,
opportunist and hypocritical in the extreme is the phony concern for human life
expressed by right-wing politicians and religious bigots, from President Bush
all the way down, who have leaped to make her case a cause célèbre
of the misnamed “right to life” movement. Imagine, the pressure from
these forces has so much clout in Washington that Congress met in a special
session to pass a new law!
A horrible U.S. war has been raging in Iraq for
over two years. At least 100,000 people have died and more are dying every day.
It’s been proven and admitted that the reasons given for that war were
false. Has Congress convened an emergency session to bring the troops home now
and stop the killing of Iraqis and GIs?
Malnutrition is a fact of life in
the deaths of millions of children every year. A small percentage of the
resources the U.S. government spends on the military could end hunger in the
world. Does Bush think that his professed concern over replacing this
unfortunate woman’s feeding tube will make the world forget his role in
perpetuating the hunger of millions?
Bush is said to have “cut short
his vacation” and come back from Texas to try to “save the
life” of Terri Schiavo. But when he was governor of Texas and approved the
execution of 152 people, he never spent more than 30 minutes reviewing a case.
He certainly never cut into his vacation time. Some were juveniles, others
people with mental and physical disabilities. A number have since been proven
innocent. Isn’t it obvious that Bush is using the Schiavo case for an
image makeover from Governor Death to President Life?
Decisions about such
deeply personal and emotional issues as abortion or when to end life-support
measures are hard enough when people are honestly informed of the medical facts
and the options. They are made excruciatingly difficult when reactionary
political forces that promote religious dogma and scoff at science use them to
promote their own agenda.
The working class has plenty of reasons to be
skeptical of decisions made by a medical profession that is increasingly
dominated by profit-making pharmaceuticals and HMOs. The answer, however, is not
to succumb to the medieval thinking of the religious right, but to reorganize
medical care and society itself on a caring socialist basis, free of the
divisive pressures of capitalism.
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