I've not followed the whole sad saga as closely as many. See, after the election, I pretty much stopped watching the news. I occasionally feel guilty about relying on a quick perusal of CNN.com to find out what's going on in the world, but then last weekend I remembered when I started that.
My grandmother has my old TV in the nursing home, and she had it on the national news. The lead story involved all these people in Florida with their tearful signs: "Dear Jeb, Please Save Terri!" and I lost it and started stalking up and down the hall ranting and probably scaring the shit out of all these old people just trying to get some rest.
Just a few of the reasons that sent me through the roof:
1). Okay, so these are people from the uber-Religious Right, right? Right. So why the fuck are they acting like Jeb Bush is God on Earth? Geez, if they want to stick the Ten Commandments everywhere, you'd think they'd at least know the one about "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Idolatry, people. It's not just for [insert your favorite ethnic slur against those of religions other than Christianity] here.
2). Okay, in the time you spent making your stupid "Dear Jeb, Please Save Terri!" sign, you could have gone out and done some good for people who are actually conscious of how hungry and sick they are. But noooooo, those people are dirty and icky and some of them aren't even white!! They must have brought it on themselves! Again, reread your Bible and check the part about feeding the hungry and caring for the sick and visiting those in (*GASP*) prison. It doesn't say anything about "bum-rush a hospital and pour water down the throat of a woman who can't even swallow and will therefore drown."
I lost any sort of respect I might have had for Terri Schiavo's parents when I found out they were taking the list of people who had donated to them and selling it to a conservative fund-raising group. "Thanks for helping us, here, have some junk mail!" From that point on I was convinced it was about money and getting one's own way. And anyway, if they were so truly religious as they say, wouldn't they want their daughter's soul to go on to heaven instead of lingering in a broken body?
I asked Mom if she wanted to go to church for Easter and she said "no, last year there was no place to sit and then someone stole my umbrella." (Nice, folks, stealing at church.) But we did have the TV on a station that broadcasts one of the Nashville church services and I was absolutely astonished when the pastor -- a Southern Baptist -- started preaching about how many people stay away from the church because of the greed and hypocrisy of so-called Christians, and how that hypocrisy is one of the major forces driving people to become atheists. I thought I was hallucinating from too many chocolate eggs. The day before, I had told my mom that I didn't really want to belong to a church right now because I felt they were all Pharisees, that I couldn't figure out what they had to do with anything Jesus taught.
And I am rambling, but this, my friends, is why I don't watch the news: It turns me into a ranty screaming insufferable bitch who wants to talk about politics at Margarita Friday while she's drunk. Be grateful that I watch SportsCenter instead.
Anyway, here's an excellent column that sirinek linked to yesterday. I'm putting the whole thing behind this cut-tag so I can save it, because it's the best comment I've read on this whole mess.
Living will is the best revenge
By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Times Deputy Editor of Editorials
Published March 27, 2005
Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:
* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.
* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.
* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.
* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.
* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.
* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.
* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.
* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.
* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.
* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.
* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.
* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.
* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.
* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.
* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err on the side of life."
* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.
* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.
Robert Friedman is editor of Perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org