Friday, March 25, 2005

Time To Re-Establish Perspective

The Terri Schiavo tragedy-turned-political/media-circus has occupied our attention for a week now.
A few days ago, I heard friends starting to wonder: What is the Bush administration trying to get away with while our attentions are diverted?
This morning, on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, Bob Herbert provides part of the answer.
Here's a smattering of what he has to say:
"President Bush believes in an "ownership" society, which means that except for
the wealthy, you're on your own. The president's budget would cut funding for
Medicaid, food stamps, education, transportation, health care for veterans, law
enforcement, medical research and safety inspections for food and drugs. And, of
course, it contains big new tax cuts for the wealthy.
"These are the new
American priorities. Republicans will tell you they were ratified in the last
presidential election. We may be locked in a long and costly war, and federal
deficits may be spiraling toward the moon, but the era of shared sacrifices is
over. This is the era of entrenched exploitation. All sacrifices will be made by
working people and the poor, and the vast bulk of the benefits will accrue to
the rich."

Mr. Herbert is, I think, The New York Times' most principled columnist, an astute defender of the forgotten victims of judicial and legislative abuse. The Times' smartasses -- Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, Frank Rich -- get the lion's share of attention, but Mr. Herbert, in my estimation, provides a much more valuable public service with his measured outrage at society's injustices.
It's time to rejoin Mr. Herbert in pointing out -- loud and clear -- the many, many bad policies and insidious "reforms" that George W. Bush and his team are attempting to foist on the American populace.
My heart continues to go out to Terri Schiavo, Michael Schiavo, Bob and Mary Schindler, and the rest of their grief-stricken and fractured family. But we need, as a society, to be looking out for everyone's protection.
Thank you, Bob Herbert for helping us to refocus.