Recently I've seen a lot of stuff about Terri Schiavo on my friends page and in the left-wing media I read. People are writing about Schiavo because her autopsy revealed that her brain was half the expected size, meaning she was irreparably damaged and had no chance of waking from her coma. All the Republicans making a fuss about her were wrong, dead wrong. Bill Frist is either not a very good doctor, or not a very good liar. Possibly both. The judges who acted according to the law were right, the doctors who actually examined Schiavo were right, and the Liberals who supported her husband were right.
None of this matters.
There are a couple reasons why none of this matters. For one thing there's the American public's attention span. We've moved on as a nation. There's been other important news since then. There's been a runaway bride, a young woman in Aruba, and of course the critical Michael Jackson case. I'd mention the Downing Street Memo, but honestly that's captured about as much attention as major league soccer. Who cares about a memo when there are pretty white girls in danger?
And who cares about the brain-size of a dead woman when there are other dead women to obsess over? Dead women with fresher corpses. The Liberals have been right for years now. We said that cutting taxes for the rich would lead to a budget crisis and rising economic disparity. The numbers bear us out. We said that Iraq was unnecessary and a quagmire, and that going there would distract from Afghanistan. I don't think anybody can dispute that now. We said that medical science had proved that Terri Schiavo was as good as dead and should be allowed to rest. We were right, it doesn't matter.
In addition to the lack of public attention span there's also the fact that Democrats are up against a faith-based world view. Having a faith-based world view means that evidence, even evidence that directly contradicts your beliefs, is irrelevant. Terri Schiavo could have come back to life through the glory of god. Period. Full stop. How do you argue against that? That's the beauty of religious faith as mind control. Once someone is invested in believing they can't be turned from that path by external forces. Any conversion to the truth will have to come from within. Make no mistake, the Republicans are the party of faith. Maybe not the party of religion, but the party of faith. They are the party of people who want something to believe in, a panacea that will wipe out all the injustice and immorality in the world. Those Republicans who still cling to quaint notions that can be tested in the real world, like deregulation as an economic equalizer, are marginalized in the new Republican party, which runs on pablum about activist judges and anti-religious zealots and makes policy according to the desires of the rich.
All this means that the Democrats have to win the battles when they're going on. They have to turn public opinion to their side when it matters most. They have to find a core philosophy and espouse it consistently, constantly, and in language people can understand. Talk about the importance of allowing diverse views and lifestyles. Show that freedom from the brutality of market forces is sometimes necessary for freedom to be a meaningful word. Bring up the past in reference to the present and show in clear concise words that the other side was wrong, lying, and is probably doing it again. Half-heartedly courting hardcore Republicans isn't the way to win, politically. It's the way to de-energize your base and hand victory to the other side.
We need to stop fighting the battles of the past because they are meaningless battles. For example we now strongly suspect that homosexuality and transgender are caused by hormone irregularities in the mother's uterus. They aren't moral issues, they aren't genetic issues, they just sort of are. Gay is simply another way a person can be, like tall or smart or brunette. Does this matter to the Republicans? No. They'll twist the argument any way they want to, or simply lie about it.
Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Do you want to be right or do you want the power to make the world better?
Democrats. I'm waiting for your answer.