The only thing I’ve seen on the 24-hour news networks in the last few days have been updates on the Terri Schiavo case.
It’s on the front page of newspapers and the lead story of every nightly newscast. Though the case is slowly coming to a close, it was hotly debated on all the cable news shows, and literally grabbed the attention of the entire nation.
So many people seemed concerned about this case. I saw people protesting and crying outside her hospital. I saw the White House, Congress, and the governor of Florida fighting to overturn the decision of the courts that kept Schiavo off a life-sustaining feeding tube. I saw many people, mainly the religious right, outraged by what they saw as a great moral injustice.
As I sat back and watched all of this unfold, I wondered about the odd priorities these people, the religious right, seem to have. I simply don’t understand how people in this country could have been so outraged by this one case, but still be so content with letting so many other Americans suffer. I think we need to take a closer look at what we put on the national agenda in this country.
There are currently over 32 million Americans in poverty, people who can barely afford to live, but I don’t see the moral outrage from Americans, more less from the religious right. Leaving millions of Americans fighting to survive is morally perfectly fine, but the death of Terri Schiavo is characterized as an unbelievable outrage.
There are currently over 40 million Americans without health insurance. In the richest country in the history of the world, there are over 40 million people who could be denied a much needed life-saving operation simply because they don’t have enough money. These stories aren’t covered on the nightly news. There are not thousands of members of the religious right protesting this circumstance as a moral injustice.
Last week, I heard right-wing MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough say “may God forgive us all” for the various decisions of the courts in the Schiavo case. But no right-wing talk show host has ever “asked God to forgive us” for leaving millions of lives at risk simply because they can’t afford health care. It seems that debating one person’s right to die has a higher moral priority then does fighting for millions of Americans’ right to live and making sure those people don’t live in poverty.
I could bring up the millions who go hungry in the United States, the millions who can’t afford prescription drugs, the millions who are homeless, in addition to the poverty and health care issues, but it would be pointless. The Right in the United States has no interest in making any of these issues a national priority. It makes sense that the Right doesn’t want these issues to be on the national agenda, since it’s their policies that helped lead to many of these problems in the first place.
The priorities of the Religious Right and most of the Right in the United States are laughable. How the Right can say that the millions of Americans who are in pain and are suffering, literally fighting to survive, is acceptable, at the same time saying that the Schiavo case is a moral outrage is the greatest form of hypocrisy.
I simply don’t understand the priorities of so many in this nation at times.
Marcus Afzali is a senior political science major.