Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tube Boobs 

So, if I understand it correctly, one of the tenets of Conservatism is supposed to be a distaste for big government and governmental intrusion into private lives. Bureaucracy is the enemy and income taxes are anathema. As a left-leaning libertarian, I agree with some of those ideas on principal, although in practice my views are quite opposite Conservative dogma. I'd much prefer the government leave us alone when it comes to matters of drug use, choice of marriage partner, sexual practices between consenting adults, etc., etc. I don't see eye-to-eye with them on the tax issue, though. Taxes are a necessary evil, until we can come up with some better way to pay for the services we all use.

That said, though, this Administration and Republican Congress seem determined to do everything possible to achieve exactly the opposite of their Conservative goals. Other than cutting taxes, every other action taken by W., every law passed by Congress since 2001, has been aimed at expanding government and increasing its intrusion into everyone's personal lives.

The Federal Government has exploded since W. took office. (And "took" has never been a more fitting word for it.) It is the largest now it has ever been, with a bureaucracy expanding like unchecked kudzu. A large part of that bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, is involved with snooping into the personal lives of regular citizens. We have seen people arrested and held, incommunicado, without being charged with a crime or allowed access to an attorney -- both of which are highly Unconstitutional actions.

Now, in its latest round of the "we really, really like big government" game, the assclowns in charge have gone so far as to pass a special law in a special session just because they were unhappy with various court decisions made over the past seven years or more. Yes, I'm talking about Terri Schiavo. And if it doesn't disturb you that Congress passed a law specifically allowing "any of Terri Schiavo's parents" to bring a suit to Federal Court in order to force re-insertion of her feeding tube, then you haven't been paying attention to the Fourteenth Amendment.

They didn't give that right to you, me or anyone else. Ergo Terri's parents, the Schindlers, have special rights that none of the rest of us do. It sets a bad, dangerous precedent. And for those on the right who think Congress was correct, here's some news for you: it means that, in future, should a Democratic-controlled Congress deem it appropriate, they could easily pass a law allowing a specific gay couple to marry, or allowing Hilary Clinton to be proclaimed president-for-life. It's Congress stepping beyond the bounds of their powers.

Civics 101: The three branches of the government are the Legislative (House and Senate), Executive (President), and Judicial (The Supreme and Federal Courts). The Legislative branch writes the law, the Executive arranges for it to be enacted and enforced, and the Judicial interprets it when there are questions or issues. The Legislative and Executive branches have just pulled an end-run around the Judicial, the former by writing this special law and the latter by signing it. Luckily, the case immediately landed in the courtroom of a Federal judge who interpreted the law correctly and told the Schindlers that, basically, they're still shit out of luck.

Beyond the specifics, though, what's the bigger issue here? It's this: two branches of government have decided they don't like the actions of a third, and have deeply, terribly intruded upon the private lives of one husband and one wife. So much for the sanctity of marriage. And all this with the involvement of a man (Dubya) who, as Texas governor, signed a law allowing hospitals (not family) to decide whether to kick out non-braindead but terminal patients (thereby sentencing them to death) because the insurance was running out.

It's a sad, sad state of affairs. Hopefully, Congress and Chimpie will get bitch-slapped all the way to the Supreme Court on this one and Terri Schiavo, who has been braindead for fifteen years, will finally be released from the mindless, drooling state she's been trapped in.

What Congress did is unforgiveable, and every member who voted for this law should be run out of office (if not arrested) immediately. It's another big step toward fascism, but there is a bright side to it. Though it all, polls have shown overwhelming public sentiment against Congress getting involved, on the order of 80/20%. With any luck, this might be the incident that tips the scales and turns the stomachs of true Conservatives out there.

Maybe the moderate right wing will finally see that the government they have has never been the government they really wanted. Maybe, finally, they'll resent the snooping into bedrooms and finances and private lives and hospital rooms, and they'll say "enough."

Maybe. I've said "maybe" a lot since the election debacle of 2000. But maybe this time, the assclowns in power have gone too far.

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