With Jeb Bush’s poll numbers looking dismal indeed at 4%, you would think that his political ads would use a bit of tact. Instead, what we have is this ad from South Carolina, in which Jeb makes the appalling choice to include a scene referencing his actions in 2005 in the case of Terri Schiavo.
The voice-over states, “He’s a man of deep faith who fought time and again for the right to life.” A scene of Terri flashes across the screen, smiling, in a permanent vegetative state as her autopsy would later reveal. Her brain had been damaged to the point of liquefying following a cardiac arrest in 1990, and it was not until 2005 that she would finally pass away. Her life had been exploited as a political issue, with then President George W, and his Floridian Governor brother, Jeb, making it their mission in life to keep Terri alive. The so-called “Pro-Lifers” had found somebody to rally around.
Nevermind that her husband, and eighteen witnesses had testified that Terri would not have wanted to be kept on life support in a vegetative state. Her parents, lost in their religious convictions, fought to keep her alive regardless. The whole country became a regular witness to the back and forth struggle over this poor helpless woman. It was a painful and tragic story for everybody to witness, and all empathetic people wanted to see Terri have some dignity and not to suffer anymore. The politicization was the last thing you would want to see, but it became more extreme when the Florida courts sided with her husband.
The “Palm Sunday Compromise”, proposed by none other than Senator Rick Santorum, passed on March 21, 2005. George W Bush flew in from his vacation to sign the bill into law so that jurisdiction of the Schiavo case could be taken over by the federal courts. All of this effort to show what “Pro-Life” good upstanding Christians would do to save a person, whose life was sadly beyond hope. If only they would work as hard for all of their constituents, instead of just those caught in the media spotlight? Despite the Republican’s efforts, in the end, Terri was allowed to pass away peacefully, at long last.
By all accounts, the choice to drag this story back into the open in the hopes of keeping Jeb’s political career alive is another example of his incredibly appallingly bad judgment. It is beyond the pale to think that Jeb would actually be proud of this moment in history, much less his A rating from the NRA.
Terri Schiavo’s husband, Michael, said this of Jeb’s continuing abuse of his wife’s memory: “It is simply disgusting that Jeb Bush and his super Pac would exploit my wife’s tragedy for his crude political gain. Shame on Jeb Bush.”
Matthew Silvan is a gay man from the American South who has spent years fighting against the scapegoating and demonization imposed on the LGBT community by Republicans and religious hypocrites and zealots. His writing reflects the constant struggle to overcome the inequality and discrimination still rampant in America. He is an advocate for diversity and progress, with a passion for nature and preserving the environment, who also tends to approach things in a lighthearted way despite it all.
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