A Quorum of Savages: Notes from the Debate of the Deluded:
You haven't lived until you've heard Tom DeLay, choked with emotion, trying to erase his image as a vile, unethical sleazebag from the national view, talking about Terry Schiavo: "Mr. Speaker, after 4 days of words, the best of them uttered in prayer, now comes the time for action. I say again, the legal and political issues may be complicated, but the moral ones are not. A young woman in Florida is being dehydrated and starved to death. For 58 long hours, her mouth has been parched and her hunger pangs have been throbbing. If we do not act, she will die of thirst. However helpless, Mr. Speaker, she is alive. She is still one of us. And this cannot stand. . . .Terri Schiavo has survived her Passion weekend, and she has not been forsaken. No more words, Mr. Speaker. She is waiting. The Members are here. The hour has come."

Yes, sweet tender mercies, it wasn't lost on the gathered House members that it happened to be Palm Sunday when they flew in from around the world to make fine, fine speeches on the "sanctity" of "life." Said Representative Jeff Miller of Florida, "Mr. Speaker, 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, marking the beginning of a week that throughout history and the world over has signified the sanctity of human life. Tonight we are here on Palm Sunday to afford the greatest presumption of life possible under our United States Constitution to a woman who has never truly been afforded representation and whose wishes are truly unknown." So, like Schiavo is Jesus? Are they saying that Jesus was a non-responsive grinning vegetable?

Meanwhile, the bashing of Michael Schiavo as some kind of slimeball continued. Despite the fact that in 1998 he offered to give his wife's portion of a lawsuit settlement to charity if she would be allowed to die. Despite the fact that he could have given up guardianship, divorced her at any time and moved on. Despite declining the craven attempts to pay him off by outsiders. Here's Miller, continuing on Michael Schiavo: "This is not about the sanctity of the Schiavo marriage. That is a matter between Terri and Michael. Mr. Schiavo has got some answering to do himself. Any insinuation otherwise is clear hypocrisy and nothing more."

Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey said, "We meet here tonight because there are serious questions whether Terri Schiavo's estranged husband, Michael, who has abandoned Terri for another woman and has had two kids with the other woman, could be trusted as a legal guardian for a woman for whom he has sought death for many years." Fuck, Smith makes it sound like Michael Schiavo wants to drag his rutabaga of a wife out of the hospice and into the streets of Pinellas County and beat her to death in front of her parents. Not that Theresa Schiavo would notice. Chances are that she'd "smile" that reflex smile while she was being beaten.

But this isn't really about Terri Schiavo today. As the Rude Pundit said last week, she must die, for her sake, for the sake of her family, and to demonstrate that God, Jesus, Allah, whoever, doesn't want her to live. (There you go, stupid fuckers praying outside the hospice, traveling from all over the country to screech and murmur to a negligent deity: if "God" wants her to live so fuckin' badly, why doesn't "He" heal her?)

No, this is about the Congress, primarily the Republicans, who are practicing Fallujah politics - the barbarous belief that you need to destroy something in order to re-create it according to your ideological whim. Whatever gets in your way must be wrecked, bombed to the ground, and shat upon. In this case, it's the Constitution, the judiciary, the bond of marriage. Look at this chilling statment from DeLay, whose very stare makes children want to kill baby animals: "The sanctity of life overshadows the sanctity of marriage. I don’t know what transpired between Terri and her husband. All I know is Terri is alive . . . Unless she has specifically written instructions in her hand, with her signature, I don’t care what her husband says."

And there's everything you need to know about contemporary conservatism and its evangelical remoras. Nothing matters - not medicine, not courts, not even the word of a spouse. All that matters is what DeLay says. Or Bush. Or Frist. The Congress and the President said fuck you to the husband; said fuck you to the following courts: the Pinellas County Circuit Court, the Second District Court of Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court, the Second District Court of Appeal (again), the Florida Supreme Court (again), the Pinellas Country Circuit Court (again and repeatedly), the Second District Court of Appeal (yet again and repeatedly), the Florida Supreme Court (yet again and repeatedly), and the U.S. Supreme Court; said fuck you to doctors; and said fuck you to any notions of the liberty of the living. Will they do something to say "fuck you" to the federal court that's considering the case now if it rules against the Republicans (and Schiavo's parents)? They have no idea. They're making it up on the fly, the Republicans. They pretend to a belief system and a plan, but ultimately they are merely tools, beholden to their polls, their politics, their re-election pocketbooks.

This entire debacle is about nothing more than changing the national argument, from Social Security, Iraq, and Tom DeLay, to their bullshit "culture of life." But as it sinks in, as it becomes apparent that all that's going on is pandering to the evangelical right, as the rest of us are galled by the actions of a destructive legislative branch, this will backfire.

The right wants to control your behavior and your interaction with others. In the bedroom, the classroom, the doctor's office, the hospital room. Now we know what the enemy believes - that they and only they know what is medically sound. Now we know why the enemy so absurdly "protects" the "rights" of those "who have no voice": the brain-damaged, the fetuses: because those can't tell the enemy that they're just fucking wrong.

Correction: Last week, the Rude Pundit referred to Terri Schiavo's brain as a "rock." More properly, it should be called a "puddle" or a "soup."