"Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched." ~ Guy de Maupassant
A Culture of Hypocrisy
If there is a life after death, Phineas T. Barnum must be looking on from 'the great beyond,' green with envy. Turn on the boob tube at anytime over the past weekend and you were sure to see either file footage of Terri Schiavo (the main attraction), eyes looking beyond anything in her presence, members of Congress debating her case, Franciscan monks flanking her mother at press conferences, protestors waving signs and taping their mouths shut (unfortunately it was only temporary), or President George W. Bush heading back to Washington in order to be available to sign congressional legislation that would save Schiavo's life. The President claimed to stand ready to defend 'a culture of Life.' Perhaps the President has had a change of mind since exactly two years ago, he ordered the invasion of Iraq (for reasons that to this day continue to evade reality), which caused tens of thousands of needless deaths. Not long ago, 'President' Bush was 'Governor' Bush of Texas, were he shattered all records for executing prisoners (causing their death). Not that anyone's heart should bleed for murderers, rapists and child molesters, but our criminal justice system is run by humans and therefore fallible. This fallibility has come to light on more than a few occasions when it was proven that innocent persons have languished in prison or inhabited death row. 'Life' in prison can be ameliorated if a person is found to be innocent after he is convicted; death is final (at least for heathens). The fact that he could possibly be sending an innocent man to his death did not bother our 'culture of life' President. Why? Political expediency, which determines a politician's Life and death. Bush is fully aware of where his support comes from and will do everything to keep them happy (Let's not ruin it for Jeb). The mother of Mrs. Schiavo attended a Sunday (Palm Sunday) press conference flanked by monks (complete with robes and ropes for a maximum effect), and attorneys (complete with forked tongues and sharp teeth). Religious individuals and clergy weighed in, favoring keeping Ms. Schiavo 'alive,' at least in this world. It's ironic that Christians of all denominations should want to keep a person who is obviously suffering in this life from entering the next, which according to them is one of blissful 'eternal life' (but absent of beautiful, salacious virgins). Just as ironic is the fact that many non-believers (AKA atheist and heathens) favor the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube. According to their beliefs, this is the only life we have, so shouldn't we hang on to it for dear life? I don't think anyone's in much of a hurry to simply become a maggot's lunch. It was amazing to see Congress muster the energy to debate the Schiavo issue on Sunday, especially after having endured grueling hearings on the use of steroids by professional baseball players (apparently more relevant to the Constitution than declaring war) earlier in the week. Jose Canesco, Sammy Sosa, and others were hauled in front of Congress and battered with questions about their illegal drug use. This must be important when the Congress set aside time from debating whether to further bilk taxpayers so they can pump seniors full of more prescription drugs (like Viagra). Major League Baseball umpires may soon find their decisions being appealed to Congress and the federal courts. One important question lost in all the hoopla is exactly who is going to pay to keep Ms. Schiavo 'alive.' If her parents or the supporters of the 'culture of life' will pony up out of their own pockets, then why should a state or federal judge, the president or the Congress decide her fate as opposed to her friends and family? Her husband seems ready, willing and able to feed his estranged wife to the maggots (surprise!!!), but should he have that power? The state thinks so, at least until it's no longer convenient or politically expedient. Ultimately Schiavo's loved ones (her husband is probably no longer in this category) should make the difficult decision as to what to do with her and pay for any cost associated with that decision (including buying out the husband's 'interest'). The ironies and hypocrisies in this case are self-evident, as is the ultimate power of the state. The fact that the Schiavo case is playing out in State courts, Congress, the White House and federal courts as politicians scurry in front of cameras for photo ops and sound bites makes it very clear that an omnipotent state holds the ultimate decision over its subjects' lives and deaths (especially those without advance medical directives).