Thursday, March 24, 2005

What's really afoot here?

Since having my by-pass eight and half years ago, I've regularly visited Dr. Ellis my terrific internist/cardiologist.  Given the limitations of Medicare – it doesn't cover what's classified as checkups – this is a pretty costly.  Well I'm addressing that problem.  Next week I'm going email Dr. Ellis and suggest that in lieu of coming in next time, I'll have members of my family video tape me.  That seemed good enough for a diagnosis by Dr. Frist and after all Dr. Ellis, while perhaps not a surgeon/senator, has actually examined me.  He knows his patient first hand, which seems to matter.  Doesn't it?

As a I watch poor Terri Schiavo, in a vegetative state for fifteen years, being used as a political football I find myself sickened.  I also find the whole affair ominous.  Playing before us is the brute force, indeed social if not physical violence, of the Religious Right.  I watched the House debate and subsequently have listened to the increased attack on Judges (who incidentally have become assassination targets) and it doesn't simply make me angry, it truly frightens me.  Where is this country heading and where are the voices of dissent, most particularly religious dissent?

The Schiavo affair makes one contemplate why this surge in religious fundamentalism, specifically Christian fundamentalism?  I for one think that there is a direct correlation between it and rise of Islamic fundamentalism.  There is a kind of parallel build and what's most scary about it is that it echoes the religious wars of the Middle Ages.  Behind all the rhetoric about values and the preciousness of every life is a militant defense of very specific values, one that has increasingly turned into an offense.  How long will it be until we see some version of suicide bombings by these people or more likely large scale vigilante executions?  Remember Dr. Barnett Slepian of the abortion clinic was shot dead in his kitchen shortly after returning from Friday night services?  I worry for Terri's husband, her doctors and all those judges.

I can't help also asking myself if Tamar Shapiro were in the same condition would the Congress have met in a late night session to overturn the will of her husband and the courts (including the Supreme Court which weighed in on this case before it became a political and media frenzy)?  I don't mean this as a paranoid question.  The same could be asked about the fate of a Moslem woman in a vegetative state.  My point is that this whole thing is very religious specific, not merely conservative but a sectarian assault on Separation and, if successful, potentially on minority religions in a country that some people now see as their own to the exclusion of all but the like-minded.

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