The Terri Schiavo case

A lot of people have been avoiding discussing the Schiavo case for various reasons, but I think there’s something important enough here that it’s worth putting on the table. Today we’ve seen what one faction of the Republican party wants our country to be like, and there’s something in it that doesn’t sit right with me.

I’m certain that most of the people reading this have at least some conflicting emotions about this case. Chances are, either you, or a family member, or someone you know has had to make an important medical decision for someone. And especially when these decisions amount to life or death, they are agonizing.

President Bush said that when in doubt, we should err on the side of life. I disagree. I think that when in doubt, we should err on the side of personal responsibility. The government has many roles in health care, and sitting over the bedside making the decisions isn’t one of them. These decisions are, have been, and should be, the province of the people affected, of their families, and their physicians.

“But wait,” you may say, “it’s well and good to let things be a matter of personal responsibility when it comes to bank accounts. But here a life is at stake.”

…And this is the moment that personal responsibility counts for more, not less. We sometimes forget how often we entrust people with an enormous responsibility; consider who we let drive a car. (And remember that a car is three quarters of a ton of steel and fiberglass, moving at sixty miles an hour within a few feet of unprotected people. No factory would ever allow something like that.) We can’t just say that because it’s inside a doctor’s office, people are any less responsible for each others’ lives, especially for their loved ones.

The implication in the Legislature’s intervention in this case is that the government has the right, whenever it feels that you aren’t making the decision it wants you to make, to step in and make intimate decisions for you and your family. When the Liberals were talking about the risks of government policy on abortion or gay marriage, this was the real issue on the table; same when the Conservatives were talking about the risks of central government health care. It’s the risk that, once the government decides it has the right to intervene in your most intimate decisions, you’re going to end up with Congress voting on what sort of treatment you should have when you’re in the hospital.

(That last sentence would sound like a ridiculous exaggeration if it hadn’t happened just a few days ago)

Now, most of you probably have a gut feeling, one way or the other, about what should be done in the Schiavo case. But – unless you’re part of her immediate family, or you’re her attending physician and are working in consultation with them – it’s not your decision to make, any more than it would be their decision if you were the one in the bed.

It may be hard to put a life-or-death decision in the hands of someone else, especially when you strongly disagree with what they’re doing, but it’s sometimes necessary. The world can’t be run by an army of nannies, all looking over our shoulders; at some point, we have to trust that the people around us are responsible, have thought the moral issues through, and know the details of their own situation and can make their decision better than anyone else.

This is what I see as the heart of the Progressive philosophy – personal responsibility for yourself and your community. Society, family, and experience raised us to become people who can make these difficult decisions, because if we don’t make these decisions, there’s no-one else who can make them for us. Government is neither your mommy nor your daddy; it’s just us, and an agreement we made to work together on some issues. It can’t be an oracle of perfect justice, and it shouldn’t be an excuse for politicians to walk into the operating room.

It’s funny to see the Republican leadership, and a bunch of Democrats desperate to prove their right-wing credentials, stepping out to advocate the most extensive version of the Nanny State I’ve ever heard mentioned. I won’t go into Tom DeLay’s description of this as a political “windfall;” I think his ethics investigations speak clearly enough about the content of his character. But honest Conservatives who should know better are standing out there with him, getting ready to meddle in the lives of an innocent family because they’re hoping for some political benefit. Forgetting their core principles is not a way to get it – any more than it is for the Democrats who are out there with them. This matter is not the Federal government’s business, and we shouldn’t set a precedent any other way.

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Published in: on March 23, 2005 at 23:15  Comments (36)  
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36 Comments

  1. Very well put. I know nothing about the case (and don’t mind that fact), but this very succinctly explains a lot of what I’d like to be able to explain about how I feel about govt in general. Thanks much.

  2. Very well put. I know nothing about the case (and don’t mind that fact), but this very succinctly explains a lot of what I’d like to be able to explain about how I feel about govt in general. Thanks much.

  3. Yep.
    But out of curiosity, what makes this philosophical stance “progressive” as such? Not that it’s opposed to progressivism, but lots of conservatives would say the same thing about their philosophy. And some who have historically been labelled progressive probably wouldn’t fit too well into this.

  4. Yep.
    But out of curiosity, what makes this philosophical stance “progressive” as such? Not that it’s opposed to progressivism, but lots of conservatives would say the same thing about their philosophy. And some who have historically been labelled progressive probably wouldn’t fit too well into this.

  5. I think it is precisely the conflict of “what’s right in this individual case” vs. “what’s the right principle to follow / precedent to set” that is the reason this case has been so incendiary.
    Here’s what bothers me: (note: a lot of this information is remembered from a couple of years ago, which was the last time I actively researched it)
    1. Many doctors have testified that she is in a permanent PVS, but other doctors have testified that she could be rehabilitated. One doctor was on the news the other night — he was nominated for a nobel prize at one point for his work with people in PVS’s — and he said that he worked her up as part of court proceedings and then he testified as his professional opinion that she could be rehabilitated completely. The court ignored his testimony. If the parents had had custody, they’d have pursued therapy of this kind — but under her husband’s care, *no therapy has been allowed* for the entire time she’s been in the hospital.
    2. The husband seems to be a gold-digger. If he truly cared for her welfare, he’d have divorced her, let her parents have custody, and married his new lover (whom he moved in with shortly after Terri collapsed and went into the hospital). If Florida were a common-law state, in fact, he and this lover would now be in a common-law marriage, that’s how long they’ve been together now. Instead, he’s been fighting almost from the get-go to let Terri die so he can inherit her malpractice award money. And there’s convincing evidence that he was an asshole to her before she collapsed. Friends of the couple described how abusively he spoke to her. In fact, the reason she collapsed is almost certainly because of potassium deficiency due to her eating disorder; she was bulimic. And guess what, her husband insulted her and called her fat, which probably did not help prevent her heart failure.
    3. It’s being painted as a “right to die” issue. I don’t think that’s correct. I believe in a person’s right to die. However, the fact that Terri supposedly made it her wish to die has only been established by testimony of her husband, the same one whose motives are so questionable. She did not leave a living will, but only supposedly mentioned it in a conversation to him, and there was a “witness” but he was apparently not very convincing; and it is only a quirk of Florida law that conversational testimony counts as evidence that you do, in fact, want your plug to be pulled. In most states, only legal documentation counts.
    In this case it seems overwhelmingly clear to me that The Right Thing is for the parents to get custody of Terri and for them to pursue therapy to see if maybe she could be rehabilitated. However, there seems to be no way to accomplish this without trampling all over the balance of powers. It makes me sad. I don’t know what else to say.

  6. I think it is precisely the conflict of “what’s right in this individual case” vs. “what’s the right principle to follow / precedent to set” that is the reason this case has been so incendiary.
    Here’s what bothers me: (note: a lot of this information is remembered from a couple of years ago, which was the last time I actively researched it)
    1. Many doctors have testified that she is in a permanent PVS, but other doctors have testified that she could be rehabilitated. One doctor was on the news the other night — he was nominated for a nobel prize at one point for his work with people in PVS’s — and he said that he worked her up as part of court proceedings and then he testified as his professional opinion that she could be rehabilitated completely. The court ignored his testimony. If the parents had had custody, they’d have pursued therapy of this kind — but under her husband’s care, *no therapy has been allowed* for the entire time she’s been in the hospital.
    2. The husband seems to be a gold-digger. If he truly cared for her welfare, he’d have divorced her, let her parents have custody, and married his new lover (whom he moved in with shortly after Terri collapsed and went into the hospital). If Florida were a common-law state, in fact, he and this lover would now be in a common-law marriage, that’s how long they’ve been together now. Instead, he’s been fighting almost from the get-go to let Terri die so he can inherit her malpractice award money. And there’s convincing evidence that he was an asshole to her before she collapsed. Friends of the couple described how abusively he spoke to her. In fact, the reason she collapsed is almost certainly because of potassium deficiency due to her eating disorder; she was bulimic. And guess what, her husband insulted her and called her fat, which probably did not help prevent her heart failure.
    3. It’s being painted as a “right to die” issue. I don’t think that’s correct. I believe in a person’s right to die. However, the fact that Terri supposedly made it her wish to die has only been established by testimony of her husband, the same one whose motives are so questionable. She did not leave a living will, but only supposedly mentioned it in a conversation to him, and there was a “witness” but he was apparently not very convincing; and it is only a quirk of Florida law that conversational testimony counts as evidence that you do, in fact, want your plug to be pulled. In most states, only legal documentation counts.
    In this case it seems overwhelmingly clear to me that The Right Thing is for the parents to get custody of Terri and for them to pursue therapy to see if maybe she could be rehabilitated. However, there seems to be no way to accomplish this without trampling all over the balance of powers. It makes me sad. I don’t know what else to say.

  7. Though you’re right, for theoretical champions of “personal responsibity”, our Republican leaders sure do seem to acting hypocritically. That makes me sad too.

  8. Though you’re right, for theoretical champions of “personal responsibity”, our Republican leaders sure do seem to acting hypocritically. That makes me sad too.

  9. The word has been used for a huge range of political philosophies, no doubt. I’m going with the one that I’ve heard most recently, which seems to be what’s been building (gradually) out of the people disenchanted with the mommy state of the Left and the daddy state of the Right.
    You’re right, of course; it’s vague. I’ll try to put something together on exactly what I meant by that for another time.

  10. The word has been used for a huge range of political philosophies, no doubt. I’m going with the one that I’ve heard most recently, which seems to be what’s been building (gradually) out of the people disenchanted with the mommy state of the Left and the daddy state of the Right.
    You’re right, of course; it’s vague. I’ll try to put something together on exactly what I meant by that for another time.

  11. Yeah, it’s a huge question. I wouldn’t expect you to answer it on the spot. I tend to think this recent sense of it belongs to the longer tradition, however.
    I’ve been gathering my thoughts on the topic, too, and meaning to write some about it. But I’m easily distracted, I guess. Soon come.

  12. Yeah, it’s a huge question. I wouldn’t expect you to answer it on the spot. I tend to think this recent sense of it belongs to the longer tradition, however.
    I’ve been gathering my thoughts on the topic, too, and meaning to write some about it. But I’m easily distracted, I guess. Soon come.

  13. Well, nevermind, I sent a link of this comment to a friend and he responded with information that shows that I’m basically wrong. There’s a kuro5hin article in the edit queue that says that apparently there are CAT scans showing that there is no brain left and thus objectively negligible chance of recovery, and as for the gold-digger hypothesis, I knew that there was very little of her medical malpractice award remaining but apparently “there [is] about $50,000 left…. Michael offered to donate the settlement to charity if her parents agreed to remove the tube. Her parents refused. A businessman recently offered $1M to Michael to give up guardianship of his wife. He refused.”
    how embarrassing. that’s what I get for living in a conservative household.

  14. Well, nevermind, I sent a link of this comment to a friend and he responded with information that shows that I’m basically wrong. There’s a kuro5hin article in the edit queue that says that apparently there are CAT scans showing that there is no brain left and thus objectively negligible chance of recovery, and as for the gold-digger hypothesis, I knew that there was very little of her medical malpractice award remaining but apparently “there [is] about $50,000 left…. Michael offered to donate the settlement to charity if her parents agreed to remove the tube. Her parents refused. A businessman recently offered $1M to Michael to give up guardianship of his wife. He refused.”
    how embarrassing. that’s what I get for living in a conservative household.

  15. I agree with your sentiment: this is no place for legislature. I understand that this is potentially a ground-breaking case however, the legislative branch of our government was not established to debate the welfare of individuals but rather the country. The only branch of government as I see it who has any stated authority in matters such as this is the judicial branch, which has most consistently ruled in favour of Schiavo’s husband. On a more personal note, I don’t want the fucking government messing with my life personally. Goddamnit! What are they doing wasting their time debating one woman’s life when they could be debating health care reforms so more people could benefit from life support? They’re trying to fight for life, so why not give more people health care and a chance to live healthy lives? These are more vent comments than comments intended to start a factual or political debate. End personal note. We should all consider carefully when we have a government that believes it is morally superior and is willing to act on that belief in our personal lives.

  16. I agree with your sentiment: this is no place for legislature. I understand that this is potentially a ground-breaking case however, the legislative branch of our government was not established to debate the welfare of individuals but rather the country. The only branch of government as I see it who has any stated authority in matters such as this is the judicial branch, which has most consistently ruled in favour of Schiavo’s husband. On a more personal note, I don’t want the fucking government messing with my life personally. Goddamnit! What are they doing wasting their time debating one woman’s life when they could be debating health care reforms so more people could benefit from life support? They’re trying to fight for life, so why not give more people health care and a chance to live healthy lives? These are more vent comments than comments intended to start a factual or political debate. End personal note. We should all consider carefully when we have a government that believes it is morally superior and is willing to act on that belief in our personal lives.

  17. I think the big question in the case is, *whose* personal responsibility? Parents or husband?

  18. I think the big question in the case is, *whose* personal responsibility? Parents or husband?

  19. That’s without a doubt the question that the state court faced; both sides have some legitimate claim but competing interests. And this is one of the things a judge does, to resolve disputes which haven’t yielded to arbitration, ultimately with the power of decree backing the decision.

  20. That’s without a doubt the question that the state court faced; both sides have some legitimate claim but competing interests. And this is one of the things a judge does, to resolve disputes which haven’t yielded to arbitration, ultimately with the power of decree backing the decision.

  21. Hmm… this is part of why I don’t want to take a side in the dispute itself; it’s got a lot of ins and outs to it, and the people involved have been dealing with it for fifteen years. But those are interesting facts in the case…

  22. Hmm… this is part of why I don’t want to take a side in the dispute itself; it’s got a lot of ins and outs to it, and the people involved have been dealing with it for fifteen years. But those are interesting facts in the case…

  23. It’s the risk that, once the government decides it has the right to intervene in your most intimate decisions, you’re going to end up with Congress voting on what sort of treatment you should have when you’re in the hospital.
    (That last sentence would sound like a ridiculous exaggeration if it hadn’t happened just a few days ago)

    IT IS a ridiculous exaggeration…it just also happens to be true…sigh
    I had alot more after this but i am not sure how I feel any more. I dislike the precedent but government does get to decide alot about what we can and can’t decide. I dislike the way they want to ignore the judicial branch of government. I dislike the very narrow focus of the federal government effecting only one person but they often craft bills to benefit very small groups so this is just more of the same.
    Just had a thought – Maybe congress is trying to DDoS the Supreme Court.

  24. It’s the risk that, once the government decides it has the right to intervene in your most intimate decisions, you’re going to end up with Congress voting on what sort of treatment you should have when you’re in the hospital.
    (That last sentence would sound like a ridiculous exaggeration if it hadn’t happened just a few days ago)

    IT IS a ridiculous exaggeration…it just also happens to be true…sigh
    I had alot more after this but i am not sure how I feel any more. I dislike the precedent but government does get to decide alot about what we can and can’t decide. I dislike the way they want to ignore the judicial branch of government. I dislike the very narrow focus of the federal government effecting only one person but they often craft bills to benefit very small groups so this is just more of the same.
    Just had a thought – Maybe congress is trying to DDoS the Supreme Court.

  25. Hmm… I like that analogy: mommy versus daddy state. It seems to fairly concisely get at the differences. Is that your model of description or did you hear it elsewhere?

  26. Hmm… I like that analogy: mommy versus daddy state. It seems to fairly concisely get at the differences. Is that your model of description or did you hear it elsewhere?

  27. We sometimes forget how often we entrust people with an enormous responsibility; consider who we let drive a car. (And remember that a car is three quarters of a ton of steel and fiberglass, moving at sixty miles an hour within a few feet of unprotected people.
    Hmm… I think this is a very bad comparison. Yes, in both cases one entrusts people with a responsibility. However, the nature of the responsibility is drastically different. With a car, the responsibility is primarily an issue of transportation with a second, passive (although very, very important) responsibility of the health of people involved (both in and out of the car). In the case of the medical situation, the entirety of the situation is actively dealing with the health of the individuals involved. It is almost like saying the responsibility of an individual soldier and a commander are roughly equal considering either could potentially save or doom part or all the company of soldiers. That is strictly true . . . but if the soldier were to do so, it would because he screwed up in his specifically assigned task and that allowed the part or whole to be killed/captured/whatever. However, the fate of the company is not the soldier’s job. That is the commander’s job and he would be actively failing in his responsibility to the company if his failure lead to their doom, which the soldier would be actively responsible for failing in his task but only passive responsible for the wider problem.
    Er . . . hmm, maybe my metaphor is equally (or worse) suited to my point as yours is to yours.
    Regardless, I mostly agree with your conclusions. I just think that comparison is a weak and somewhat misleading support of said conclusions.

  28. We sometimes forget how often we entrust people with an enormous responsibility; consider who we let drive a car. (And remember that a car is three quarters of a ton of steel and fiberglass, moving at sixty miles an hour within a few feet of unprotected people.
    Hmm… I think this is a very bad comparison. Yes, in both cases one entrusts people with a responsibility. However, the nature of the responsibility is drastically different. With a car, the responsibility is primarily an issue of transportation with a second, passive (although very, very important) responsibility of the health of people involved (both in and out of the car). In the case of the medical situation, the entirety of the situation is actively dealing with the health of the individuals involved. It is almost like saying the responsibility of an individual soldier and a commander are roughly equal considering either could potentially save or doom part or all the company of soldiers. That is strictly true . . . but if the soldier were to do so, it would because he screwed up in his specifically assigned task and that allowed the part or whole to be killed/captured/whatever. However, the fate of the company is not the soldier’s job. That is the commander’s job and he would be actively failing in his responsibility to the company if his failure lead to their doom, which the soldier would be actively responsible for failing in his task but only passive responsible for the wider problem.
    Er . . . hmm, maybe my metaphor is equally (or worse) suited to my point as yours is to yours.
    Regardless, I mostly agree with your conclusions. I just think that comparison is a weak and somewhat misleading support of said conclusions.

  29. The interesting thing is that it’s really closer to a conservative stance. A fact which has not eluded many republicans (who are beginning to turn on Bush due to this and his budgetary indescretions, but that’s another post). One of the central stakes of the conservative platform used to be an anti big government stance, and this meddling in individual people’s lives is exactly the opposite of that.
    On the other hand, I’d always assumed that “progressive” meant more government intervention, but more in a general safety-net sort of way.

  30. The interesting thing is that it’s really closer to a conservative stance. A fact which has not eluded many republicans (who are beginning to turn on Bush due to this and his budgetary indescretions, but that’s another post). One of the central stakes of the conservative platform used to be an anti big government stance, and this meddling in individual people’s lives is exactly the opposite of that.
    On the other hand, I’d always assumed that “progressive” meant more government intervention, but more in a general safety-net sort of way.

  31. It’s my response, a bit, to Lakoff’s description of the Liberal perspective of the government as a “nurturing family” and of the Conservative perspective as a “strict-father family.” He’s developed the analogy in great detail, and while I see a good deal of virtue in it – I think his description of the underlying ideas of the right has real meat to it – I’m not at all convinced (as he is) that the “nurturing family” is the right way for a government to act. Thus the remark about government being neither your mommy nor your daddy.

  32. It’s my response, a bit, to Lakoff’s description of the Liberal perspective of the government as a “nurturing family” and of the Conservative perspective as a “strict-father family.” He’s developed the analogy in great detail, and while I see a good deal of virtue in it – I think his description of the underlying ideas of the right has real meat to it – I’m not at all convinced (as he is) that the “nurturing family” is the right way for a government to act. Thus the remark about government being neither your mommy nor your daddy.

  33. The comparison isn’t meant to suggest that driving a car and making a medical decision are identical, just that entrusting people with human life is something we do almost constantly. There’s something about the explicit decision that makes it seem starker, and something about the familiarity of driving that cuts down on the apparent significance. But if tomorrow you were to get a factory job that involved controlling a giant lump of metal that was swinging around quickly next to people, day in and day out, you’d feel the stress from it; it would be giving you an enormous responsibility. The fact that you get that on a daily basis shouldn’t make the weight be any less significant.

  34. The comparison isn’t meant to suggest that driving a car and making a medical decision are identical, just that entrusting people with human life is something we do almost constantly. There’s something about the explicit decision that makes it seem starker, and something about the familiarity of driving that cuts down on the apparent significance. But if tomorrow you were to get a factory job that involved controlling a giant lump of metal that was swinging around quickly next to people, day in and day out, you’d feel the stress from it; it would be giving you an enormous responsibility. The fact that you get that on a daily basis shouldn’t make the weight be any less significant.

  35. This is what I see as the heart of the Progressive philosophy – personal responsibility for yourself and your community.
    So well put, thank you 🙂
    I’ve been repeatedly amused/confused/frustrated/bewildered/amused again by the apparent contradictions, confluences, similarities and using of the same political/social/economic stances but phrasing them differently that “liberals” and “conservatives” do. Some months ago, BoingBoing had a link up to a historical map of the US political parties (made by National Geographic, I think, but I could be wrong), and how the various parties, existing and long gone, moved up and down on the scale of liberal in their overall strategy/philosophy….and I should dig that up and get a copy for myself, as it’s a lovely illustration of just this sort of continual morphing.
    What you described as “progressive”, other thread commentators brought up the comparison to “conservative,” which is valid, but I’d like to cite the same comparison to “liberal.” According to Michel Foucault, the liberal state depends upon free subjects, and is itself (the state) defined in relation to said free subjects and their freedom. The citizens assume from the state the burden of some of its former regulatory functions, and impose upon themselves, for their own accord, rules of conduct and mechanisms of control.
    In short, the liberal state/system relates to its objects as subjective agents, and preserves their autonomy. Like you put it, the government isn’t mommy or daddy, it’s just us. I guess the major sticking point of contention between liberal, as Foucault describes it, and conservative, as we see it at play in current US politics, is that bit about the state relating to its free subjects and their freedom. We hear “W” talk a lot about freedom, but I don’t think it means what he think it means.
    According to Foucauldian ethics, to trace the threads of this problem across time back to the source of the tangle, we need examine issues of power along the long line of historical discourses: not who holds it (because power is not an object) but who utilizes it, and how? Who defers or confers power? In this case, I have to say: I just don’t know enough about what’s going on out there in the US, but from news sources (which I view as little better than biased hearsay) I glean the general notion of religious fundamentalists as a large voting block of the easily-swayed-by-a-few-keywords. It seems that this whole gobbeldygook is grandstanding to keep the eyes of these ignorant* masses trained upon their chosen leader.
    But, it’s the nature of politics to do one thing in public, in order to effect something else behind closed doors, and to further a larger agenda. It seems to me that the current administration is steering toward fascism…which may be of a new sort, one that presents democracy as its front, but is fully elaborately orchestrated by the confluence and conflict of corporate powers. But there are many others willing to exercise their power, as we found with the turnout of voters in favor of anyone-but-Bush.
    (* there’s just no other way to put it. Those who believe in the Bible (or any of its relatives and derivatives and precursors) as the literal word of “God” and a true testament of history and an accurately detailed portrayal of how life should be lived by the Chosen (i.e. them), and assigns them the right to persecute others based upon its content, are just plain ignorant.)
    Blah. I wonder where this will go?

  36. This is what I see as the heart of the Progressive philosophy – personal responsibility for yourself and your community.
    So well put, thank you 🙂
    I’ve been repeatedly amused/confused/frustrated/bewildered/amused again by the apparent contradictions, confluences, similarities and using of the same political/social/economic stances but phrasing them differently that “liberals” and “conservatives” do. Some months ago, BoingBoing had a link up to a historical map of the US political parties (made by National Geographic, I think, but I could be wrong), and how the various parties, existing and long gone, moved up and down on the scale of liberal in their overall strategy/philosophy….and I should dig that up and get a copy for myself, as it’s a lovely illustration of just this sort of continual morphing.
    What you described as “progressive”, other thread commentators brought up the comparison to “conservative,” which is valid, but I’d like to cite the same comparison to “liberal.” According to Michel Foucault, the liberal state depends upon free subjects, and is itself (the state) defined in relation to said free subjects and their freedom. The citizens assume from the state the burden of some of its former regulatory functions, and impose upon themselves, for their own accord, rules of conduct and mechanisms of control.
    In short, the liberal state/system relates to its objects as subjective agents, and preserves their autonomy. Like you put it, the government isn’t mommy or daddy, it’s just us. I guess the major sticking point of contention between liberal, as Foucault describes it, and conservative, as we see it at play in current US politics, is that bit about the state relating to its free subjects and their freedom. We hear “W” talk a lot about freedom, but I don’t think it means what he think it means.
    According to Foucauldian ethics, to trace the threads of this problem across time back to the source of the tangle, we need examine issues of power along the long line of historical discourses: not who holds it (because power is not an object) but who utilizes it, and how? Who defers or confers power? In this case, I have to say: I just don’t know enough about what’s going on out there in the US, but from news sources (which I view as little better than biased hearsay) I glean the general notion of religious fundamentalists as a large voting block of the easily-swayed-by-a-few-keywords. It seems that this whole gobbeldygook is grandstanding to keep the eyes of these ignorant* masses trained upon their chosen leader.
    But, it’s the nature of politics to do one thing in public, in order to effect something else behind closed doors, and to further a larger agenda. It seems to me that the current administration is steering toward fascism…which may be of a new sort, one that presents democracy as its front, but is fully elaborately orchestrated by the confluence and conflict of corporate powers. But there are many others willing to exercise their power, as we found with the turnout of voters in favor of anyone-but-Bush.
    (* there’s just no other way to put it. Those who believe in the Bible (or any of its relatives and derivatives and precursors) as the literal word of “God” and a true testament of history and an accurately detailed portrayal of how life should be lived by the Chosen (i.e. them), and assigns them the right to persecute others based upon its content, are just plain ignorant.)
    Blah. I wonder where this will go?


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