Saturday, September 18, 2004

Beings and Nihilists

"I stand for a culture of life," brayed W. to the cheering crowd," where every person matters and every being counts."

These were, of course, anti-abortion code words and nothing more. A previous speaker at the rally, a fundamentalist football player, had provided the flagrant Jesus talk, and the obligatory shrill reference to the "slaughter of innocent children." The crowd went wild.

Bush's watered down stump speech boilerplate could have come from the invocation at a Vegan Buddhist pot luck supper. Did he really say "Every being counts ?" What about all those cows who've died for his red blooded Texan barbecues ? What about all those pheasants and quails who were rounded up for Mr Cheney and his cronies to shoot ?

I found myself, as I usually do when our Dear Leader speaks, screaming at the radio.

"You lying asshole, you don't GET to talk about BEINGS, you don't GET to even SAY culture of life ."

Our president epitomizes the culture of death. Consider his childhood delight in blowing up frogs, a bona fide DSM IV diagnostic criterion for childhood conduct disorder, and the undiluted relish he seemed to take in his role as Texas' Lord High Executioner. This would seem to be enough to garner him full Prince of Darkness status, hands down, no questions asked.

Alas, these were just warm up exercises.

"Ah am," W. growled, "a Wo-ah Prez-dent." How did a born-and-bred Connecticut Lad ever get such a Texan drawl ? Am I mistaken, or does that drawl deepen when he's at his most bellicose ? We saw film footage for the first time the other night of his famous "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier landing, of him dressed up in that crotch-magnifying costume, grinning, strutting about, looking awkward and foolish. I winced, ashamed for our country.

Of how many deaths can he boast ?

"We don't do body counts," sniffed one of his generals, when asked about how many iraqi soldiers -- persons, beings -- had died.

He does love his little morulae and blastocysts, though. Never mind that the pain and fear experienced by a slaughtered cow or quail or executed prisoner or soldier is leagues greater than that which a clump of cells feels. Never mind that he mounts no objection to discarding the unused embryos of God-fearing possibly-Republican-voting patrons of infertility clinics. But let someone suggest those same embryos be used for stem cell research -- a life enhancing pursuit -- and he's all over it with the baby-killing rhetoric. This is our War President's "culture of life."

Never mind that beings who are fair game for medical research -- primates, chimps -- are as sentient as a human infant. And far more sentient that a human embryo. The secret is that W's so-called "culture of life," insofar as it is a culture of life, which isn't very, applies only to humans. Male humans, especially. (Viz. no "life of the mother" exception in their anti-abortion playbook.)

How can this man be in charge of anything, let alone the United States ?

Consider Dr Bill Frist, the loathsome fundamentalist Republican Senate Majority leader and thoracic surgeon, who admitted to having lied to obtain cats from some Boston animal rescue shelter when he was a resident in order to practice on them.

Today we read in the Globe that our presidentially-aspirating impeccably-coiffed Governator, Willard "the Mitthead" Romney, has wielded his fiery red pen of manly veto on an obscure clause of the budget -- a clause that would guarantee students the ability to opt out of dissection and chose another more animal-friendly modality of learning biology.

"Over my dead body !" he screamed on the schoolhouse steps, arms crossed over his impeccably suited breast in the traditional, manly gesture of gubernatorial defiance.

Well, no, he didn't really do that. He bleated some incomprehensible thing about how the dissection alternative option "would send the unintended message that animal research is frowned upon" in Massachusetts, thereby discouraging entrepreneurial and business activity. Which, as we all know, is what counts. Is what trumps everything. Except, possibly, the well-being of human embryos. Oh, and by the way, I'll have the veal marsala. Do you like my new mink coat, my baby seal earmuffs ? My new leather sofa ? These eggs from painfully debeaked hens who lived -- suffered -- eight to a small cage so that we might have our morning scramble ? This milk from cows whose babies were wrested from them minutes after birth ? Then penned, hobbled in darkness and rendered anemic so that they might make a succulent cutlet ? These tender chops of baby lamb ? Can I interest you in another dollop of pate de foie gras -- from a duck force fed through a hose until his liver nearly burst from the fatty accumulations ?

Welcome to the Republican culture of life. Where every being counts.

As in body counts.

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