Terri Schiavo: A case of situational sanctity? One thing that's true about the mainstream media's macabre coverage of the Terri Schiavo case is that everyone in America should draw up a living will, lest--like Schiavo--you become a game piece in Republican political maneuvering exercises. Watching footage of the vegetative Schiavo, the "sanctity of life" argument touted by Tom DeLay and others rings false as I see this poor woman's image broadcast on TV, her wasted body and permanently wrecked brain put on display for political gain. And while it fits with the GOP's "red meat" strategy--a bait-and-switch, where hot-button issues like flag-burning, abortion rights, and gay marriage distract religious conservatives from economic injustices promoted by the party--it again demonstrates Republicans' unnuanced and inconsistent moral rhetoric. A few things to consider:

- What about the "sanctity of marriage"? That ardently argued mantra from the gay marriage debate is shitcanned without a second thought in favor of letting Congress run roughshod over Michael Schiavo's rights as lawful guardian of his wife.

- The Texas Futile Care Law, signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush, gives hospitals the right to turn off life support if a patient can't pay or there's no hope for revival, regardless of the family's wishes. Now Congress is stepping in, with Bush's approval, to override state law?

- Will this "sanctity of life" thing start applying to Iraqi civilians? Death Row inmates? Afghanis held in Guantanamo? Or is it "situational sanctity"?

Talking points reportedy distributed to Congressional Republicans states that the "pro-life base will be excited" by the Schiavo case, and that it's a "great political issue -- this is a tough issue for Democrats." Sure is. And it's got us talking about the life of one person who's been irreversibly brain damaged for 15 years--one person whose wishes to not be kept alive through extreme measures were conveyed to her husband--instead of the lives of millions affected by the Iraq war, Social Security restructuring, tort reform, gutted healthcare, and dismantled environmental protections, not to mention the slow death caused by withering government funding for social programs for the poor. Where's the morality in that?

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