A few days ago, we reported here about Jeb Bush’s attempt to crush the life of an abused 6-year-old girl in his Florida satrapy (“Miami Vice: The Sleazy World of Jeb Bush,” May 13). State officials had gone to court to cut off public assistance to Marissa Amora, who, at the age of 2, had been abandoned by Jeb’s “Department of Families and Children” despite overwhelming evidence of horrific past abuse and the dire risk of more to come. More came, of course; she was beaten almost to death and then Jeb’s minions tried to pull the plug on her and let her die. She survived, has thrived, has a new family but still suffers from permanent, catastrophic damage from the entirely predictable beating she received after the DCF cast her aside.
There was a new development in the case this week, and for the moment it’s great news. The jury in the case found in Marissa’s favor, awarding her $35 million for her suffering and, more importantly, for her future care, the Palm Beach Post Reports. The DCF has been ordered to pay the bulk of the award.
An unusual triumph for justice and compassion in Jebworld, certainly. But there are still some roadblocks on the way to a happy ending, however. As we all know, the Bush Family are ferocious proponents of “tort reform” i.e., protecting powerful entities from paying for their crimes. Thus Jeb’s satrapy has a law limiting damage awards against the DCF to $100,000 per person or $200,000 per incident. For Marissa to receive the full amount from DCF awarded by the jury, the Bushist-controlled state legislature must pass a special law. This cumbersome process offers ample opportunity for Jeb to chisel down the award or weasel out of it altogether. And of course, the agency could always appeal the verdict, dragging out the case and the suffering and anxiety of Marissa’s family for months, even years.
If Marissa’s case had garnered even one-tenth of the national media attention larded on the partisan hokum of the Teri Schiavo carnival, Jeb would be feeling too much political heat to try to beat the rap. But of course there was no mention of the story in the national media at all. And here we see a tragic conundrum in American public life today: those who honestly care about “nobodies” like Marissa the poor, the dispossessed, the abandoned, the “insulted and injured,” in Dostoevsky’s phrase are too honorable to exploit them for crass partisan gain…and too busy trying to alleviate their suffering to waste time and energy on media campaigns. But ruthless operators like Jeb Bush, Tom DeLay and the whole sick crew of Bushists are more than willing to hype a case to the skies if they see some political advantage in it and equally willing to flush people down the drain if they can’t make use of them.
But for now, it’s good news, a rare victory for human decency in a harsh, inhuman time.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for The Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. His new blog of political news and commentary can be found at Empire Burlesque (www.empireburlesquenow.blogspot.com.)