Wednesday, March 23, 2005

US (Selective) Right to Life

I wasn't going to say too much on the tragic case of Terri Schiavo. It struck me as a fairly appalling exploitation of one family's heart-breaking situation for political momentum, and not just necessarily by the pro-life nuts working so hard to keep the brain-dead woman alive.

But when another high school shooting took place in Minnesota, it got me thinking broadly about life, quality of life and death.

Dubya cut short his vacation (he often seems to be doing that, doesn't he? Perhaps he could, say, not go on so many vacations?) to come back and sign the relevant papers that would prevent Terri Schiavo's feeding tube - and therefore her life line - to be removed. Yet this is the same man who's primarily responsible for the deaths of thousands of Afghani and Iraqi men, women and children. He's the same man who, as Governor of Texas, executed 152 people, even mocking one of those unfortunate people's final pleas for life.

The high school shooting will no doubt bring out the pro and anti- gun lobbyists for a renewed showdown. But if Dubya actually believes the US should have a "presumption in favour of life", shouldn't he be immediately legislating to make all but impossible access to the weapons that end more lives in a single massacre than any other weapon can? Columbine and Red Lake High School - not to mention Pearl High and Jonesboro - had students taking out other students and teachers with guns, not knives, baseball bats or heavy text books.

Something tells me, however, that Dubya will continue to resist gun law reform and keep appeasing the NRA. Maybe he might think differently if some freak goes into a nightclub and takes out Jenna and Barbara while they're ralphing in a toilet somewhere. And maybe if it were Laura Snr in Terri Schiavo's situation, he might not be so sanctimonious about the "presumption in favour of life".

Because this appears to be the only way to educate Rancid Religious Right types about the danger of their hypocritical "pro-life" values: something has to hit home. Nancy Reagan only ended her silence on stem cell research and pleaded for the Bush administration to change its position on this when Ronnie was so far gone with Alzheimer's she could barely communicate with him anymore - even though Ronnie himself supposedly "would never have approved of using the preborn to save the life of another—even if it meant a cure for his own disease". Dick Chaney doesn't immediately echo the homophobic sentiments of John Ashcroft and most other Republicans because his own daughter's a dyke. Is the the only way these people ever understand how dangerous and offensive their self-righteous dogma can be?

If so, I wouldn't wish for Laura Bush to be left permanently brain-dead by a stray bullet from an 8-year-old playing with his daddy's gun, but for the greater good...


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