“Culture of life” revisited

Sometimes a good rule of thumb is just to kick the soapbox over to E.J. Dionne. Here’s his column today on the Terry Schiavo affair, and what it really means to support a “culture of life”:

People who lack access to health care because they can’t afford insurance often die earlier than they have to — with absolutely no national publicity and with no members of Congress rising up at midnight to pass bills on their behalf. What is the point of standing up for life in an individual case but not confronting the cost of choosing life for all who are threatened within the health care system or by their lack of access to it?

What does it mean to be pro-life? As far as I can tell, most of those who would keep Schiavo alive favor the death penalty. Most favored allowing the assault weapons ban to expire and oppose other forms of gun control. The president makes an excellent point when he says we “ought to err on the side of life.” It’s a shame how rarely that principle is put into practice.

Sadly, it’s a bit futile to keep harping on this—it’s not as if Tom DeLay can ever be shamed for anything he does—but that’s exactly right. It would be nice if Republicans could “err on the side of life” even when it doesn’t involve a big media extravaganza. Anyone can “care” about people in front of a TV crew; all that matters is what happens once the camera goes off.

UPDATE: Ah, you can get the master list of progressive talking points here. Very good indeed.