Friday, March 18, 2005

Bush and Nixon

If you want a great comparison to the Bush administration, go looking for The Boys on the Bus, a 1973 book by Timothy Crouse. It's kind of hard to find, but if you read the sections about Nixon and the White House press corps, along with the sections about Nixon's closed appearances and speeches, where even the press was banished from the room, you would find a ton of similarities between then and now. There's too many to list here, but it's worth finding for a primer on what happened before and how we can fix this.

Terri Schiavo, part two

Editor's note: I repeat myself here, but this was very off-the-cuff.

I haven't had a lot of time to really research this, but I simply have to say that I think the current situation is shameful. Michael Schiavo is married to Terri, he is her legal caregiver, and he would know best what his wife's wishes are. Understandably, her parents are upset (because what parent wants to admit that their child may wish death over living in such a situation?) but they have been rebuffed by the courts over and over again. So, the right-to-lifers in government have tried to use any concievable power to keep her alive, once again showing their utter disregard for the judicial branch. The rule of law is just that, but these people don't give up. If they don't like the law, they try to ram through legal changes after a decision has been made, then they get told they can't do that, and they keep trying. Today, Congress issued subpoenas to a woman who is completely unable to testify due to her severe brain damage. This is a sham, a flat-out disregard for patients rights. This woman is becoming a puppet for those forces. She has no idea of the raging debate around her, no idea how she is being used for a cause. If I were in her situation, with no chance of living, paralyzed in that sort of way, I don't know that I would want to be kept alive either. It's a tough situation, but there are multiple court decisions in favor of Michael Schiavo, and the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously refused to hear the case, so this should end. Let Terri Schiavo die in peace. Stop using her in this manner. It's not right.

Terri Schiavo

I'm kind of rushing this, but these are some quick thoughts on this matter:

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear this case. Other courts have refused to hear this case. This battle has been going on for years, and the parents have consistently lost. The Congress has now entered the fray, and I feel that this is overstepping their bounds. They are issuing a bill of attainder, and using their subpeona power to keep her alive, when they know she has no way of testifying and answering the subpeona. She could attend, and watch, but have no way of responding. And what is the point of her coming?

Nothing more than using her as a symbol for the right-to-life movement. If Michael Schiavo is to be believed, and the courts involved have mainly believed him, and I have to believe him after all this time he's dealt with this that he knows what he's doing. If he is to be believed, she is being kept on life support that she did not want. If I were in that state, I don't believe I'd want to be kept alive in that way. After 15 years of artificial care, I don't believe a change is going to come in her condition. This is different than a coma. No, we don't know for certain whether she wanted to be kept alive or not, but I'd think her husband would know about this best. This political game is ridiculous, and it's unconstitutional. It is an abuse of power. Let the woman die in peace. It's the humane thing to do.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Religion, morals, faith and values

This is going to be a post aside from politics. It is a post about faith, about religion, about the two sides of religion, and how liberals and moderates can retake the faith discussion, and the morals discussion.
In rereading Al Franken's book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, the chapter about his visit to Bob Jones University struck me. The tight dating bans, the Big Brother-ish internet filters, the inferences that secular universities and colleges cause alcoholism, venereal disease, and loss of faith, and the inability to leave campus without a chaperone. These people are adults.
The whole idea of faith should always be that faith alone can sustain you. Is it really faith when all temptation must be filtered from you? Is it faith when you can't be trusted to leave the protective womb of the university without escort?
It is currently the Lenten season. It was during this time that Jesus Christ spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, without food or water, resisting the temptation and entreaties of Satan. Since Jesus Christ is supposed to be the model of Christianity, then why can't these students be trusted to be faithful?
Jesus prayed to his father, our God, for sustenance against these temptations. If faith is what we are, then shouldn't faith alone be enough? Why must there be restrictions? Why must there be such stifling intrusion? Why is there not trust in the power of faith? If Bob Jones University is supposed to be the pinnacle of faithful people in this great nation of ours, then why do they have so little trust in the power of faith to properly guide its students and steel them against temptation?
This leads me to the perversion of religion in this nation. We have an evangelical clique proclaiming to be following God's true path, and they are trying to save us from the filth in our society, from the "perversions" of homosexuality, in short, to save us from ourselves.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:13, "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You lock the door to the Kingdom of heaven in men's faces, but you yourselves will not go in, and neither will you let people in who are trying to go in!"
Matthew 23:15 says, "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You sail the seas and cross whole countries to win one convert; and when you succeed, you make him twice as deserving of going to hell as you yourselves are!"
Does this bode well for James Dobson, for Jerry Falwell, for Jimmy Swaggart, for Bob Jones, for Pat Robertson? These men of "faith" decry homosexuals (i.e. locking the door to the kingdom of heaven) and blame them for society's ills, even, in Falwell's case, blaming them for 9/11.
While we're on it, how about Matthew 23:27-28, which says, "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside, but are full of dead men's bones and rotten stuff on the inside. In the same way, you appear to everybody as good, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins."
How about you, Jimmy Swaggart? You were caught with prostitutes twice, yet continue to throw stones at others for their sins. How about you, Bob Jones? You and staffers at your university helped propagate lies about a decent and honorable man in Senator John McCain, a fine public servant, a man who kept faith through five years of torture in Vietnam. How do you reconcile that hideous act with your faith?
I could go on, but the point has been made. The leaders of the religious right have teamed with the Republican party not for the purpose of saving lives and being men of good faith, but instead for the power and riches that come with it. They are men of hypocrisy, men of no shame, men of no decency. They lie, distort, slander, and outright bully those who don't believe in the intolerant Church that they preach. They continue to launch an outright assault on homosexuals, focusing purely on Old Testament verses, and not on New Testament love and tolerance.
It is time for the rest of America, the majority of America, to stand up for our beliefs. It is time for us to not try to outpreach the right-wing Republicans, but instead to showcase our morals, our family values. The Kennedys were conservative Catholics for much of their lives, and yet they were for desegregation, for civil rights, for ending poverty, for freedom, and for separation of church and state.
What is moral about rising poverty and unemployment levels? What is moral about giving tax breaks to those who do not need them? What is moral about dividing America by using religion as a club to beat people down with? What is moral about violating civil rights in the name of temporary safety? What is moral about publicly lying to the citizens of this nation? What is moral about sending people to die when they could have been protected in a better fashion? What is moral about treating human beings as "less than" simply because their genetic makeup makes them look or act different than us? What is moral about imposing one set of religious values on a nation in which many different religions abound? What is moral about trying to censor virtually every program on television, and depriving citizens of their right to decide what they choose to see, hear and speak? What is moral about cutting programs that assist the destitute, hard-working, impoverished among us in favor of giving more money to those who have no need of it? What is moral about taking America's best domestic achievement, a safety net for all Americans in case they should fall on hardship during their working years and after, and trying to shred it in favor of ideology? Tell me, what sort of moral values do these people hold?
Enough is enough. One small group of people should not be allowed to dictate the direction of 275 million people. We need to make our voices heard, loud and proud, proclaiming a set of true moral values, values that benefit our fellow man, values that benefit the vast majority, and not the small minority. Religion should not be the dominion of just one population group, and evangelicals are not the only voice of Christ in our society. This nation belongs to everyone, and God is everyone's God, not just the evangelicals. It is time to end this hijacking and restore our nation to its rightful place and restore our God to his.


I apologize to any of the readers/visitors/whoever stopped by for lack of new content. My internet access was down for a week over a check that wasn't initially cleared by my cable company. With said problem resolved, I am back, but will be a little less active, because I will be working on a research project for one of my professors for the next two months, and yes, graduating. I'm not leaving, just slowing down a bit. I would, however, like to see some comment on the post that will be above this one. I hope it will bring some deeper discussion about our future.