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Edith Fletcher: A Picture Of Indecent Exposure

A Picture Of Indecent Exposure

By Edith Fletcher

Pieces of today's news are weaving an unrecognizable face of America's future which we once thought we knew something about. Some items are threatening, some senseless and some disgustingly alien to a promise that has lost its luster.

From Mike Farrell's commentary in the March 21 L.A.Times we hear about 'a lot of huffing and puffing about "indecency" these days in Congress.' There seems to be a fixation on protecting us from 'filth spewed from radio and television, but theirs is a narrow view of what constitutes decency."

This view doesn't encompass recent indecencies such as torture which Ferrell rightly claims is 'more indecent that four-letter words.' Other indecencies include cutting off from the land mine treaty, the International Criminal Court and ignoring incompetent, drunk or sleeping lawyers who 'represent' defendants against capital punishment.

Along with these we list the renouncement of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that guarantees a citizen's right to ask help from the U.S. consulate if accused of breaking a law in another country. Another is sending an 'imperialist zealot to the United Nations.' Still another, putting a torture enabler in charge of the attorney general's office.

All these acts are sewn into a historical tapestry picturing the most varied and wide attack on the weak and vulnerable ever made in this country. Some of the acts are purely for political power while using people who have no power of their own. One of these is Terri Schaivo.

The L.A.Times reports that in a "midnight coup," 'Republican leaders, eyeing an opportunity to appease their radical right-wing constituents, convened Congress over the weekend to shamelessly interject the federal government into the wrenching Schiavo family dispute.'

Though they claim bragging rights to the tile of defenders of states' rights they trampled Florida's for an 'attempted usurpation of power.' Whether the federal judges will assume the case or throw it out the mission will be accomplished which was to publicly pander to the extreme right wing of the party stirring up vigils and prayers among people who never imagined they were being used.

According to Charles Babington and Mike Allen in the March 20 Washington Post 'an unsigned memo was circulated to Republican lawmakers over the weekend calling the Schaivo case "a great political issue."' All this while the poor woman's pitiful, woebegone face is shown far and wide in newspapers, on television and on thousands of internet sites, at the same time Senator Frist piously quotes Pope John Paul II on life sustaining treatment.

Thus the roaches of politics came out at night, swarming with disgusting appetite over a woman's defenseless body.'

While the desecration of Terri's body was going on we heard no more about Housekeeper DeLay's dirty mops and dishpan hands. The GOP hopes interest has died down, but it has to reappear because of the seriousness of charges against him and the unprecedented actions of his fellow representatives who have gutted rules of the House ethics committee.

On 'Media Matters' website, November 18, 2004, editors said that justification for altering party rules to allow DeLay to retain his leadership if indicted by a Texas grand jury is that the prosecutor is doing so for purely partisan reasons. 'This charge was dutifully echoed on FOX News Channel, and most other outlets have reported it - without noting that [Ronnie] Earle, [prosecutor] has, in fact, prosecuted more Democrat politicians than Republican politicians.' This at 11 Democrats out of 15. 'The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan with hunts.'

DeLay has done his own hunts for big game in the Texas redistricting game and in trips rewarded from gambling interests, lobbyists and a registered foreign agent in violation of House rules. Two of the new ethic panelists, have their own problems about contributions to Delay.

Timing on the ethic panel changes is wrong. If it had happened before the DeLay mess it would have looked legitimate. But it didn't.

Timing is not what happens in buying big guns, which is 'no big deal' according to report on 60 Minutes, March 20. 'Fifteen years ago, Osama bin Laden sent one of his operatives to the United States to buy and bring back two dozen .50-caliber rifles, a gun that can kill someone from over a mile away and even bring down an airplane.'

These guns can go through half-inch steel plate. That's powerful. And they are going like hotcakes right under customs' nose. A gunrunner named Florin Krasniqi, provided weapons to Albanian rebels across the Mexican border. Today he is an American citizen/businessman.

What gun became the weapon of choice for Krasniqi? 'By far, the weapon of choice was a .50-caliber rifle,' says Krasniqi. 'You could kill a man from over a mile away. You can dismantle a vehicle from a mile away.'

He said, You just have to have a credit card and clear record, and you can go buy as many as you want. No questions asked.'

Clearly, the U.S. is the world's WalMart of guns, with the seeming god of choice being Mars, the Greek god of war instead of Yahweh as claimed by the neocons of our present predicament.

The predicament in America now is in an imbalance in the scales of classes with the have-nots on the way to replacing a large segment of the middle class. The proflagate neocons are flirting with disaster with their private gift of deficits to the nation. There may a virtual hell to pay for it with waves of violence from desperate people or just quiet suffering by the many.

It doesn't work without a large, viable middle class and one of the worst places of failure is in treatment of the poor in the court system. They get few of the benefits where lawyers cost a lot of money and they get much of the unfair rulings.

In the March 21 Washington Post, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick says bishops sense that public opinion is shifting against capital punishment, partly because genetic testing has proved that scores of death-row inmates were wrongfully convicted.

'I think the DNA evidence has really shaken up people,' McCarrick said. 'I think this is a moment, a very special moment, where we can talk about this and people are ready to listen.'

"Our job is to try to persuade our Catholic people and everybody of good will that the death penalty in America at this time is not necessary, it's not useful and it's not good," he said.

The job for the rest of us is to search diligently for answers to a necessary question. What is moral? That is the question. Not 'To be or not to be,' which is a lazy copout. If it hurts anyone, especially the weak, it is immoral. If it's something you think Jesus would do, or Buddha, or Mohammed, or Gandhi, or Anne Frank, or Mother Teresa, or someone like them it's probably moral. You have a lot to choose from.

Then the tapestry of our age hanging on the walls of history will not have the dragons that seem to be lurking there now every time we turn our heads to look. It will have a pleasant scene to get lost in as our grandchildren stand before it and stare.


Written by Edith Fletcher (

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