Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yeah, File Under "That's So Wrong."

The Bush administration is reportedly dismayed at the outcome of today's Supreme Court decision that upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law. Right off the bat, it occurs to us: suicide is technically illegal: why isn't the crime of attempted suicide punishable by death? This seems like a win-win here, and in the legal sense, that doesn't come along very often. As things stand, the best way to commit suicide is to murder a bunch of people in Virginia. If I wanted to take myself out of the game, that's the route I'd go, and unlike typical suicide attempts which are messy, present difficult variables for the attempter, and frequently fail, the State of Virginia gets it done right and gets it done the first time.

I'm actually a little surprised that the people representing the pro- side of this Oregon law didn't at least make an attempt to talk to Commander Cuckoo Bananas and sell assisted suicide as many, many hundreds of tiny executions. All those poor, decrepit members of the non-ownership society clinging to a paltry life--surely this would have inspired Bush enough to get down with it. He could even "pardon" anyone facing terminal illness who had the money or assets to do whatever it is Cheney is doing to stay alive. And here I thought this President was committed to ending upward mobility and sanctifying a new feudal society!

Well, whatever. "Culture of life" is the sound byte reason Bush is frustrated. That's some culture, by the way. Popular culture is usually defamed for the "Hollywood ending"--the tendency to disallow anything that doesn't end as happy-crappy as possible. But the "Culture of Life" seems to adore endings that involve excruciating pain. In fact, isn't it weird that the only time the term "Culture of Life" gets invoked is when some party--usually the one not signing and sealing a handful of Hallmark "Culture of Life" greeting cards--is actually living through some excruciatingly painful circumstances? It'd be nice if maybe something like "affordable health care" got shifted into the jurisdiction of the "Culture of Life." But from where I sit, Bush's Culture of Life means: I'm rich and powerful, and you need to suck it up and deal because the exposure of my supreme fucking indifference could cost me a few points in the polls.

Of course, the ruling has reverberated inside a memory of at least one human life that Bush didn't think about in solely abstract terms--that of Terri Schiavo. Bush's efforts on her behalf, were, if nothing else, an unprecedented commitment to constituent services from the Executive Branch.

But still, so many mixed messages. The whole idea of a feeding tube runs counter to the basic tenets of conservative philosophy. What is a feeding tube, after all, if not a literal extension of the welfare state. Not that's it's necessarily applied consistently--check the budget allocations for special education and disability programs if you want to see who's getting thrown under what bus--but still, a federally mandated feeding tube is truly the sine qua non of entitlement programs.

People told me growing up that the attitude of the Republican Party was that people were made by pulling themselves up by the bootstraps. That you should teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish. I don't recall anyone in the Republican party rolling down to Florida to dispense some fishing lessons. Which is ironic, considering that, at the very least, Terri Schiavo would have made excellent bait.


Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

A. L. Deviant said...

Schiavo bait. That's the DCeiver touch that I have grown to adore so much. Well done.