Friday, March 18, 2005


The Republican intrusion into the lives of American citizens is getting downright scary.

I have refrained from commenting on the Terri Schiavo case so far, mainly because there’s not a lot I can add to the sturm und drang of the debate, but the latest action by the cynical bastards in Washington simply has me stunned.
U.S.lawmakers said on Friday they plan to issue a congressional subpoena to keep alive Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman at the heart of a heated debate over the right to die.

“Later this morning, we will issue a subpoena, which will require hospice administrators and attending physicians to preserve nutrition and hydration for Terri Schiavo to allow Congress to fully understand the procedures and practices that are currently keeping her alive,” three Republican leaders said in a statement.
It amazes me how the Republicans, formerly the staunchest advocates of minimal governmental intrusion in peoples’ lives, have made a complete 180-degree turn. What they are doing now is involving the massive machinery of the Federal government in the most intimate decisions that must be made by families in pain.

Make no mistake about it. This case has turned into a media-driven political circus, and it is no longer about Terri Schiavo, who is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) from which she will never awaken. It is now about people who are so wrapped up in the Right to Life that they have removed every shred of dignity that this poor woman and her family once had.

It’s very easy to cast Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, as the villain in this melodrama (He wants to starve Terri to death!!!), but to me, Terri’s parents, with their stubborn refusal to accept reality, have (tragically) become the bad guys. They are engaging in the worst sort of wishful thinking, hoping that their daughter will magically wake up one day. They refuse to listen to the physicians who have done brain scans that show a good portion of Terri’s brain having atrophied and been replaced by cerebrospinal fluid. They want so badly to have their little girl again...and for that, I do not blame them.

But this is so sad, so unfair to Terri’s husband - and to her.

Nobody likes to hear bad news. Nobody wants to lose a child. Nobody wants to believe the neurologists who have seen this sort of thing so many times before. But Terri has been gone for years now - what lies in that hospital bed is a husk, a shell. Let her go.

And for you cynical bastards in Washington who are turning this family’s agony into such a circus, shame on you. I hope you never have to deal with this sort of suffering on a personal basis, but if you did, maybe you would have some rachmones for Terri.

Let her go.

And you, my Esteemed Readers - whatever your opinions in this matter - make sure you have a Living Will in place, including written directives that tell people - including your well-meaning relatives - how you want to be treated in Terri’s situation. As for me, I don’t want that feeding tube if it means lying in bed like a vegetable. I will make room for someone else to walk the planet.

[Update: The feeding tube was removed Friday, after
Circuit Judge George Greer held a telephone hearing to consider the congressional effort to intervene. Greer rejected that bid and reinstated the order allowing removal of the tube. Congressional lawyers appealed the decision before the Florida Supreme Court, which rejected it.

Late Friday, in yet another attempt to keep Schiavo alive, the House Committee on Government Reform made an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to have Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted, but that application was denied.
A difficult, heart-rending case...but we have a system in place to deal with it. Jeb Bush, the Florida legislature, and the United States Congress tinker with it at their peril. The Supreme Court, at least, knows how things are supposed to work. Now - may this poor woman find peace.]

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