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Sister Denise Mosier of Virginia allegedly was killed by a drunk driver earlier this month. The accused driver turns out to have been an “illegal,” prompting a local, apparently politically ambitious Repugnican Tea Party wingnut to politicize Mosier’s death — even going so far as to say that President Barack Obama “[has] blood on [his] hands” for not persecuting those in the nation illegally more fervently — even though Mosier’s fellow nuns have asked that her death not be politicized.
I recently finished reading the chapter in Idiot America about the 2005 Terri Schiavo debacle — the fiasco in which a dying hospice patient in Florida was used shamelessly as a political football by the right wing.
Lest we begin to think that anything has changed here in Idiot America five years later, a wingnut in Virginia now is using the death of a Catholic nun for personal political gain.
Sister Denise Mosier was killed earlier this month by an allegedly drunk driver, a 23-year-old from Bolivia — who, the media report, is not a U.S. citizen and has been in the nation illegally.
Mosier could have been killed by any sort of drunk driver — a male or a female, a minor or an adult, a white person or a non-white person, a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen — but the individual accused of having killed her while he was drunk behind the wheel is an “illegal,” which, in the current political climate in which it’s the “illegals” who are being made into scapegoats while the white-collar criminals remain free, has significance.
The Associated Press notes that Mosier’s order, the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, have “tried to discourage [anyone from] using [her] death … as a ‘forum of the illegal immigration agenda’ and pleaded for a focus on ‘Christ’s command to forgive.'”
But hey, as the wingnuts said of the dying Terri Schiavo (whom they claimed, quite incorrectly, was being murdered by being allowed to die a natural death in a hospice), the death of a nun allegedly by an “illegal” is “a great political issue.”
Why shouldn’t someone’s personal pain become some wingnut’s political gain?
Corey Stewart, chairman of the board of supervisors of the county where Mosier lived, is trying to reap such gain.
The AP reports that Stewart, yet another stupid white man —
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— “rushed back into the immigration debate after the Aug. 1 accident, firing off a statement that President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and members of Congress ‘all have blood on their hands.'”
No, it wasn’t a tragic accident that killed a nun — something that neither the young Bolivian man (who, if he is guilty as charged) nor the members of his family probably ever will live down.
No, it’s Obama’s fault. And Napolitano’s fault. And Nancy Pelosi’s fault.
“What I’m hoping is that this situation, which because it involves a nun has drawn the nation’s attention, can serve as a catalyst for change and force the administration to come clean about its catch-and-release policies,” the AP quotes Stewart as having said, adding that he also believes that Virginia needs to strengthen its drunken-driving laws.
Sure, but the real red meat of the nun’s death is the illegal immigration issue. Stewart said so himself: “because it involves a nun” and has “drawn the nation’s attention.”
It’s funny how dim individuals reveal their personal political agendas even unintentionally. Stewart essentially has called the nun’s death “a great political issue,” just as an operative for Repugnican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, where the Schiavo debacle unfolded, wrote of the case of Terri Schiavo in a memo that was leaked.
The AP notes that Stewart — a Repugnican, of course — “is seen as a possible lieutenant governor candidate in three years.”
The AP also reports:
The sisters at the Bristow, Va., monastery have buried Mosier, who would have turned 67 on Aug. 26. Two other nuns injured in the crash … have undergone surgery and remain in critical condition.
The man charged in the case, Carlos A. Martinelly Montano, 23, of Bolivia, had two prior drunken driving convictions, but was not required to serve any of his 30-day sentence for the first one. A Prince William County judge required Montano to serve only 20 days of his approximately one-year sentence on his second conviction.
Local officials turned him over to federal immigration enforcement officers after the second incident and after sentencing, but federal officers released him both times while he awaited hearings.
Montano is being held at the Prince William County Adult Detention Center, and the county’s prosecutor is promising to ask a grand jury to consider charges that could put him in prison for 40 years.
Montano entered the U.S. illegally with his parents and siblings, his uncle Luis Ronald Montano told The Associated Press. He attended American schools in New Jersey and Virginia from third grade through high school. He is engaged and is the father of two boys, ages 1 and 2, who were born in Manassas, Va.
For a few years, the family had asked Montano, a T-shirt screenprinter, to seek professional help for his alcoholism. His family took away his cars, but he had taken his mother’s Subaru at the time of the crash.
Luis Ronald Montano said the family understands Carlos has broken the law several times. They worry about the future of his two young sons. They expect he will be deported, but they have hired lawyers in hopes of keeping him here with minimum jail time.
“He’s getting used to crucify all the illegal aliens in the United States,” his uncle said.
The nuns have forgiven Montano. Mercy and forgiveness, the nuns say on their website, are not optional for Christians. …
Stewart criticized [the feds] for releasing Montano, saying the county hands immigrants over [to the feds] “on a silver platter” after they’ve been convicted of crimes “and still [the feds] release them back into communities.” …
Frankly, I trust that the feds don’t need Stewart’s advice, and for him to make a political issue of Mosier’s death when her survivors explicitly have asked him and others not to demonstrates his character. If he truly gave a shit about the nuns, he’d respect their request, but it’s all about him and his political ambitions, so of course he ignores the nuns’ request and goes full steam ahead on his selfish white-supremacist jihad.
Actually, though, Mosier’s death can serve as a “catalyst for change.” Just not the kind of change that Stewart and his ilk hope for.
Mosier’s death and Stewart’s shameless attempt to make political hay out of it can underscore for the nation the fact that while the Repugnican wingnuts used the same-sex marriage wedge issue for the 2004 elections and tried to use the Terri Schiavo case as “a great political [wedge] issue” for the 2006 elections, we don’t have to let the wingnuts of the Repugnican Tea Party use undocumented immigrants as a political wedge issue for the coming November elections, which clearly they’re doing.
We can call them on their shit this time.
To use racism and white supremacism and bigotry and hatred and fear-mongering for political gain is bad (and, I will add, anti-Christian) enough.
To exploit the death of a Catholic nun who in life opposed such things is just fucking satanic — but typical of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party and the other assorted wingnuts.