Y'know, I haven't said anything about the whole Theresa Schiavo bullshit, but I think I will, since yesterday was Easter and hey, our lord is risen, right?
I became interested in the whole sick affair not because it seems to have paralyzed the government of my country, but when I realized that Theresa Schiavo was a member of my very own Generation X, with all the baggage that entails. So for those of you who share that distinction (born between about 1960 and 1970) see if this rings any bells for you:
Theresa Marie "Terri" Schindler born 3 December 1963 near Philadelphia. She was very overweight (about 250 lbs.) until she dropped to a relatively normal Catholic schoolgirl weight of 150 when she was 18. When she was 20 she married Michael Schiavo, whose parents were friends of her parents, and two years later they moved to Florida (their first mistake, in my opinion.) Michael was a restaurant manager and Terri worked for Prudential Insurance. Boring, right? And with plenty of dull club nights in between, Terri took advantage of the fab weather to drop to 110 lbs., either through an indulgence in laxatives or as a bulimic. Oddly, she was being seen by an obstetrician at the time, as the couple was trying to get pregnant, who failed to comment on her sudden weight loss. In any case, a tremendous electrolyte imbalance caused her to have a heart attack on 25 February 1990. (This is a fairly common way for women with anorexia/bulimia to die; it was the same thing that killed Karen Carpenter.) Instead of dying, however, 26-year-old Terri was one of the "lucky few" revived with her brain stem intact, but all of her cortical functions (memory, thinking, perception, senses, etc.) destroyed.
Michael Schiavo was appointed her guardian (with the full support of her family) that June, and he quit his job to care for her along with her mother. He took her to California for experimental therapy, again with the full support of her family, and also sued her obstetrician for malpractice. He won $1,050,000, $750,000 going to a trust to take care of Terri. After the suit, however, the Schindlers (devout Catholics) discovered that Terri and Michael had been using "artificial means" to have a family and sought to remove him as guardian. They had been on good terms before, and indeed, it was THEY who introduced him to his current common-law wife.
By 1994, Michael began to see his wife's situation as hopeless, and in 1997, he initiated legal action to withdraw her life support. He won EVERY judgement following through and after 11 February 2000, when Judge Greer first ordered her taken off that support. And so the lawsuits began in earnest, and the Christians jumped in, creating the mess we have today. Her family took the following course:
"Throughout the course of the litigation, deposition and trial testimony by members of the Schindler family voiced the disturbing belief that they would keep Theresa alive at any and all costs. Nearly gruesome examples were given, eliciting agreement by family members that in the event Theresa should contract diabetes and subsequent gangrene in each of her limbs, they would agree to amputate each limb, and would then, were she to be diagnosed with heart disease, perform open heart surgery. There was additional, difficult testimony that appeared to establish that despite the sad and undesirable condition of Theresa, the parents still derived joy from having her alive, even if Theresa might not be at all aware of her environment given the persistent vegetative state. Within the testimony, as part of the hypotheticals presented, Schindler family members stated that even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it. Throughout this painful and difficult trial, the family acknowledged that Theresa was in a diagnosed persistent vegetative state."
In mid-2003, by which time she'd been reduced to a reptilian brain for 13 years, poor Terri Schiavo became a political football for Governor Jeb Bush, the President's brother. A few days ago, probably after seeing the Passion of Christ for the third or fourth time, I had a revelation: my generational sister, Theresa Schindler, has been made to suffer in this state so that on this Easter, 2005, we can look to the future of America with hope. Like our good friend Jesus, she is going to be the albatross hung around the necks of all the "good" Christians with her 15 years of suffering, and she, MY SISTER THERESA, is going to DESTROY any chance Jeb Bush has of taking his brother's place as President in 2008. For that, and that alone, we should all pray for her as she exits this mortal coil, Easter, 2005.
Jeb Bush, political suicide:
WASHINGTON March 25, 2005
In a Polarizing Case, Jeb Bush Cements His Political Stature
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
The Florida governor's intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo may have so far failed in a legal sense, but it has helped cement his conservative and religious credentials.
Shameless Right-Wingers Exploiting Terri Schiavo
By Joe Conason
The New York Observer
The Schiavo Case and the Islamization of the Republican Party
By Juan Cole
Conservatives Invoke Case in Fund-Raising Campaigns
By David D. Kirkpatrick
The New York Times
Videotape of Terri Schiavo blinking at her parents has inspired donations from people around the country to the foundation set up to help pay for the family's legal battle. But many other groups are soliciting donations in her name as well, some for a much broader agenda.
Because, friends, a healthy dollop of uber-Christ morality might have sprung another mass murderer into office, but it won't work for long. There is a reason why so many Americans, who you thought went to sleep, are disgusted by this interference with Terri Schiavo and her family. They really fear the government, Christian or not; they fear a rule of hypocrisy:
Whose Right to Life?
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t Perspective
I'm reading the tea leaves and seeing the signs everywhere; people demand a civil society, and they won't accept the rule of tyranny anywhere, at gunpoint, with a Bible, or a stolen election. Let's celebrate a resurrection this spring.
Let's celebrate the end of the Irish Republican Army, which went from liberating Ireland to becoming a criminal gang of drug dealers:
End of the IRA
Let's celebrate the end of the Russian Empire, which was beaten by the Japanese, then the Germans, destroyed by revolution, starved and subjugated by their own leaders, bankrupted by America, torn apart by ethnicity and finally ended by democracy; first in Georgia, then the Ukraine, then...
Kyrgyzstan Opposition Leader in Control
By Bagila Bukjarbayeva
The Associated Press
Tiny little Kyrgyzstan, which sits at the dawn of civilization along the Silk Road, sandwiched between the Kazakhs, the Russians, Islam and China. And who's next this year? Armenia? Belarus? Moldova? European spies are spreading the Good News everywhere, the Gospel that Civil Society is on the way.
We need to hear the Good News here in California, where every day brings more fear from our "rulers" in Washington DC:
Federal Plans Aim to Control Use of the Desert
By Janet Wilson and Julie Cart
The Los Angeles Times
Development and off-road use in the Mojave and Algodones Dunes would increase. Critics threaten to sue.
Attorney General Lockyer Files Legal Challenge to Preserve California's Giant Sequoias
By Office of the AG
In the 1970s there was a vision of a free and independent California (well, OK, Northern California), a sustainable country known as ECOTOPIA. The author of that book is alive and well and has interesting things to say to us here in the Golden State:
Turf: The Green Dream: The Man Who Invented Ecotopia
By Geov Parrish
Author Ernest Callenbach talks about localism, the future, and the state of Ecotopian ideals.
Because some people here are so desperate, they'll do ANYTHING just for a jar of Goddamn Grey Poupon:
Homeless Man Allegedly Takes Boat, Mustard
Our government would deny us an aspirin for a brain tumor, they love money so much:
U.S. Blocks Drugs Sent from Canada
By John Chase and Christi Parsons
The Chicago Tribune
Not that our friends in Canada have all the answers, tsk tsk:
Canada Unveils Annual Seal Hunt, Blasts Activists
By David Ljunggren
But our government isn't worried about Canada; they've suddenly woken up to trouble in our own hemisphere, and not in nice way:
Washington Focuses on Southern 'Axis of Evil'
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
US Suspends Military Aid to Nicaragua
By Ginger Thompson
The New York Times
So is it really the 1980s all over again? You bet your behind:
Cocaine-smuggling submarine busted
Except for one thing: In the 1980s we lived on greed and avarice. Now our greed is coming to an end:
How Much Longer Can the American Economy Live on Credit?
By Eric Leser
We're planning ever more expensive and dramatic ways to ensure a flow of oil and capital into the United States:
Pentagon Has Far-Reaching Defense Spacecraft in Works
By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
Bush administration looking to space to fight threats.
But we should be careful, because we're not the only country on the face of the earth (contrary to common wisdom), and some of the other countries are armed...some with billions of American Treasury bills. We could end up like this idiot, who tried to rob a gun shop:
I'm glad to see that my alma mater (and my state) are better in tune with the future of the world:
Berkeley Tops in U.S. for Female PhDs in Science
By Lea Terhune
The Boston Globe
But isn't that just the 1980s all over again as well?
Congresswoman Maloney Reintroduces Equal Rights Amendment
Feminist Daily News Wire
Nope, on this Easter, the Christians won't let ANY government in the United States do ANYTHING to contravene the word of God. They'll destroy freedom of the academy:
Capitol Bill Aims to Control 'Leftist' Profs
By James Vanlandingham
The University of Florida Alligator
The law could let students sue for untolerated beliefs.
But even the best-laid plans go awry:
Calif. Inmate Swallows Handcuff Key
Fortunately the rest of the world sees that the future is not in naked aggression or Christian domination or private property, but the guarantee of a civil society:
U.N. Affirms Women's Equality as U.S. Retreats on Abortion Issue
By Maggie Farley
The Los Angeles Times
There ain't no turning the clock back, Jesus might say to you, no matter how big of an asshole you are:
Many Germans Want Berlin Wall Back, Study Finds
And finally, thanks, Mike, for the photo from a recent Hollywood demonstration.
Vive le screed!
28 March 2005