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Preface: Friday, March 31, 2006 will mark the 1st Anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo. It was an event that saddened all America on many levels. In the last days of her life, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay and Jeb Bush, aided and abetted by George W. Bush, made her the unwitting poster girl for totalitarian control over everything personal and private in our lives. This expanded column originally appeared in the Lone Star Iconoclast and at the week of March 28, 2005:

The brouhaha over Terri Schiavo has really gotten under my skin. Being neither a medical professional nor a member of her family I'm not speculating either way regarding her medical care.

My concern is when it was that the Republicans on Capitol Hill become a collective medical brain trust.

And, how did this become the predominant story on all of the news outlets the past five days and counting, pushing virtually everything else aside?

All this convoluted rhetoric about the sanctity of life from the sorry gaggle of Attendants to the Knave has befouled our Capitol Rotunda with an aromatic essence not unlike that of early Spring fertilization here in Central Illinois.

In short, they brought the manure inside.

I would like to know exactly which one of these GOP leaders went to personally discuss Mrs. Schiavo's plight with any member of her family down in Florida. Ooh, there's that magic word - Florida.

The object of this 11th hour (literally) call to action with expediency not heretofore known of Congress, Terri Schiavo has been kept alive through a feeding tube since 1990. Court-appointed doctors concur that she is in a vegetative state. Her husband, Michael, has spent years sparring with her family, the Schindlers, over her right-to-die.

Terri's family claim that Michael just wants her dead so he can inherit her estate. That question is for someone else to debate in another forum.

Now, 15 years later, several of the most unethical people to ever litter the landscape of Washington, D.C., have injected themselves into this family's life, while skewing what should be a private issue into a national right-to-life debate.

Piggybacking this particular situation onto abortion issues is a complete sham.

It's the classic conservative tactic of muddying the waters to obscure the truth.

It is smoke and mirrors to divert attention from other, more ignominious misbehavior.

And heading up the charge, spouting the most sanctimonious epithets of moral righteousness and indignity, we have that exemplary American pillar of inscrutability, the aforementioned Knave, Tom DeLay.

Here's a quick overview: In 2001, the Schindler family lost their plea to the Florida Supreme Court to keep the feeding tube inserted. Despite Michael's wishes as her spouse, they prolonged the process with continued appeals.

"Terri's Law," making it illegal to remove Schiavo's feeding tube, was passed and signed by Jeb Bush (surprised?) in 2003, then unanimously struck down by the Florida Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

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An erstwhile Philosopher and sometime Educator, Jerry Tenuto is a veteran of seven years service in the U.S. Army. He holds a BS and MA in Broadcast Communications from Southern (more...)
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