Grandstanding Media Whores

It seems that most of our politicians these days are no more than grandstanding media whores, who have about as much business being in positions of power as Paris Hilton does competing on Jeopardy.

Recent events show just how bad it's become and how much trouble our country is in: the Terri Schiavo case, congressional hearings on steroid abuse in baseball, and the Ward Churchill fiasco at the University of Colorado.

The Florida courts ruled in favor of Terri Schiavo's husband that Terri had expressed she would not want to be kept alive artificially were she ever in a state where she couldn't make decisions for herself. Unfortunately for Schiavo, she is in just such a state. The bulk of her cerebral cortex is pulp. She will never recover. She will never have another conscious thought. She is less aware than animals and insects. If she had left a living will giving her parents power of attorney, they should absolutely be allowed to keep her alive and bankrupt themselves in the process. Unfortunately, she didn't, and the Florida courts ruled that Terri's husband would be the one most likely to know her wishes.

But because a huge bulk of the Florida House and Senate along with Governor Jeb Bush have no respect for the law or for the basic dignity of human existence (but plenty of respect for a high-profile political issue) they decided to play media games with Terri Schiavo and force her to be kept alive so they could appear on television and show how much they cared. Then the U.S. Congress got in on the act as did George W. Bush, hoping to get the Federal courts to rule differently than the Florida state courts. A shockingly cynical memo circulated detailing the Republican talking points that made Schiavo's tragedy such a "great political issue." Congress convened and W. actually returned from vacation (a first!) to jump on the bandwagon and pass special legislation for one person. And in one of the most absurd actions ever in the institution's history, the U.S. Congress -- your Congress, the folks who draw their salaries from your tax dollars -- actually subpoenaed the brain-dead Terri Schiavo to appear and testify before them so they could demand some answers. It's just a matter of time before these politicians actually break into the hospital and start fighting over the body like it's the Ayatollah Khomeini's funeral

I guess Congress, which is supposed to be a legislative body, just didn't have enough to do recently, what with rebuilding in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chinese aggression towards Taiwan, and the massive federal deficit. Which is why, prior to the Schiavo distraction, they were laser-focused on the crucial issue of steroids in baseball. Weren't these the same people touting the importance of less government? Last time I checked, baseball was private business. Unfortunately, a chance to get up in front of the cameras and tell the world that drugs are bad is rarely missed. It's such an easy media moment. Be you Democrat or Republican, you just can't lose standing up in front of the cameras and lecturing hulked up current and former baseball players about the bad effects of steroids.

Then there's this whole Ward Churchill thing. He's the witless academic at the University of Colorado who called the World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns." Why did he do this? Because it beats working. Ward Churchill is an egotistic asshole. However, the First Amendment is precisely there to protect egotistic assholes who shoot their mouths off. The First Amendment is absolutely pointless when it comes to speech we agree with because, well, we agree with it. It doesn't offend. There is nothing more American than standing up and defending the right of somebody to speak his mind when you absolutely can't stand the words that spill from his mouth. Sadly, there are a whole bunch of anti-American half-wits in Colorado who make Florida's elected officials seems like wise sages by comparison, starting with Governor Bill Owens, who ought to resign after misusing his office to demand Churchill's resignation. That's right, just turn on those cameras and suddenly everyone forgets what country they're living in.

Finally, there's also the issue of our "President," who's running around the country talking about Social Security and how it's broken and the only thing that can fix it are private accounts run by the likes of his good friend Ken Lay. If polls are accurate, the majority of Americans don't believe him. I think that's because the majority of Americans can do basic math and loathe grandstanding media whores. How much money has the President wasted running around the country talking about this issue? How much money will the Congress waste talking about it and crafting legislation to just turn the whole thing over to the same Wall Street ass-slapping club that gave us Bernie Ebbers and Henry Blodget?

The solution to fixing Social Security is one sentence long and most rational Americans know what it is: Raise the retirement age. In fact, the solution to each of the problems above is pretty simple: Let the courts do their job, let baseball deal with its own problems, and support the right to free speech when it's difficult, not just when it's easy.

Sadly, we simply don't have politicians and lawmakers anymore with the guts to lead when the rest of the herd is in a political feeding frenzy. They're all just a bunch of grandstanding media whores.


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