Bush’s Smokescreen

Bush and his cohorts rushed to Washington this past week end to conduct special sessions of Congress so that Bush could sign a bill that would mandate the Terri Schiavo case be heard in the federal district court.

“It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected – and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities,” Bush’s press release said.

Watching this spectacle on TV and knowing what I know, frankly, it was enough to make one throw up. A memo, which the AP reports was distributed by Senate leadership to right-wing members, called Schiavo “a great political issue” and urged senators to talk about her because “the pro-life base will be excited.”

The issue was not only turned into a political football but also a sly distraction. Here is a man and his political party eviscerating the Social Contract while they profess to have concern over all disabled peoples lives.

The truth is that over the past months this Bush administration has attacked nearly every program upon which low-income and middle-class disabled persons rely to survive – Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Section 8 housing, food stamps, education, and veterans’ medical care. I am sure that I have missed some.

No mind, the point is that the rush to save Terri Schaivo’s life stinks of hypocrisy. While they gather over one disabled woman millions remain at risk.

While disabled people are wondering how they are going to make it if the Bush administration succeeds with this unconscionable budget, the Republicans are preaching from the pulpit of congress about what good people they are. Oh please! As a disabled woman I am repelled.

Some disabled individuals I know are preparing for the worst, even death at their own hand. The billions in cuts will cut off their life-saving prescriptions, limit their access to assistive technology, the ability to live in the community, wheelchairs, wheelchair repairs, access to an affordable place to live, food, clothing, and a host of things many Americans take for granted like those sitting in the Congress.

Then this in the New York Times from ethics meister Tom Delay: “One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America,” Mr. DeLay told a conference organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.

Mr. DeLay the American people could use more visibility about your highly suspicious conduct in Texas where you may be indicted on several fronts for foul (read alleged illegal) play.

In the end the Shiavo bill only applies to her! The thousands languishing in hospitals and nursing homes across the nation don’t count, you see, in the light of all this holy goodness.

In 1999, Bush the Governor, signed a law that “allows hospitals to discontinue life-sustaining care, even if patient family members disagree.” Recently, the law permitted Texas Children’s Hospital to remove the breathing tube from a 6-month-old boy named Sun Hudson.

Bush has no qualms about executing “mentally ill” persons on death row or anyone else. Under Bush’s governorship Texas executed – killed — more than 150 prisoners. Nevermind their guilt or innocence, where is the culture of life in that?

More hypocrisy. The Republicans have attacked the trial lawyers for bringing “frivolous” lawsuits against hospitals and doctors – in particular Senator (Dr.) Bill Frist who is grandstanding on the Shiavo matter – yet a malpractice award of one million dollars is financing much of Shiavo’s care. If the Congress gets its way people like Shaivo would already be dead.

The smokescreen has been lifted and the creeps are behind the curtains.

If you think all this sucks, congratulations – you still have warm blood running through your veins.

Marta Russell is the author of Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract. She can be reached at ap888@lafn.org

— Marta Russell Los Angeles, CA http://www.martarussell.com/

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