Sunday, March 20, 2005

Have I gone crazy re the Schiavo case?

I have never commented on this in the past, and I certainly don't claim to have all of the information (although, I'd point out that there has been a great dearth of reporting on the history of the case: what prior hearing have been held, what have they discussed, what evidence was produced about the intentions of Terry Schiavo, what has her husband done regarding this case, etc...), but it seems to me that the Schiavo case represents a fault line that has run down the middle of our society.

I wonder what my views on the situation would be if so many people whom I consider to be, put mildly, political opponents, had not picked this case as their cause celebre. I am curious what my unvarnished views on the situation would be (although, as I vaguely remember it back several years ago when this first burst on the national picture, I felt that the parents were really deluded and that they were keeping their daughter alive in a manner similar to a stuffed pet on the mantle, albeit with a little more life left in her).

But, as I look at this situation through the prism of the modern political football it has become, I have to think that this represents all that is going wrong with our country. The fundamentalists that I have seen take up her cause, and subvert the rule of law and government to make a political point, have no respect for our society and it's traditions rooted in the non-coerciveness of our religiousity. Simply put, these people will do anything to foist their religious views on the rest of society.

Now, I don't pretend that this dilemna is a tough one, and that perhaps the default should lie with keeping the person alive, if there is a default. But, by all indications, this woman had discussed with her husband, and sister and brother by the way, the fact that she didn't want to be kept alive as a souveneir for people. She chose her husband as her life partner, and despite the numerous bribes offered to the husband to relinquish his power of attorney, he has said that her present suffering is something she wished to avoid, not to embrace. From what I hear, every doctor who examined her said she is in a vegetative state, and will remain so for life. At some point, we have to respect our courts, no matter how much we don't like the result. The alternative would be anarcy, or legislative tyranny, as is attempted to be imposed right now. Both are frightening alternatives.


Anonymous said...

You mean "her husband's sister and brother," right?

PD Dude said...

My understanding is that she had expressed her desire not to be kept in a vegetative state to her brother and sister, although there is a dearth of good information on this case's history available right now (lots of heat, very little light).

Anonymous said...

There is no problem with people using their religious views to guide their political voice. The Constitution only ensures active entanglement between church and state. As long as the government doesn't discriminate or encourage the practice of a particular religion, religious inspired political voting and activism is no different than political views that are inspired by a particular philosophy, sexual orientation, or life experience.

John said...

This has been such a goat fuck that I don't know where to begin.

If you want a lot of good background and reporting on the case, check here:

Anonymous said...

The Wikipedia article corrects us both: it was to her husband's brother and to her husband's sister-in law.

Her relatives say that she never said such a thing to them, and argue that, as a devout Catholic, she would have never said it.

That article is one of the better summaries of the whole brouhaha, and, IMHO, is fair to both sides.

Brian said...

"Legislative tyranny?" How about real tyranny, unaccountable judges? We can vote out legislators if we don't like what they vote for. What about some arrogant prick judge with a life-term, or a 14-year term, or whatever.

"Legislative tyranny" is perhaps the dumbest thing I have heard in months.

Dennis said...

This timeline contains links to the judicial decisions and other primary sources.

Dennis said...

This timeline, rather.