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Willisms

« What Is Senator Reid's Solution For Social Security? | WILLisms.com | Weekend Political Humor. »

The Human Argument For Terri Schiavo.

[BUMPED TO TOP]

Alice Chasan, writing at beliefnet.com (via realclearpolitics.com), has a fantastic piece on why Americans care so much about the Terri Schiavo story:

Her eyes are open.

Maybe that single, startling fact has helped transform the battle over whether to remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube from one family’s tragic conflict into a dilemma for the national conscience. After all, psychologists have shown in study after study that adults and children are drawn to faces—both human and animal—with wide eyes that call out to us. Our reflexive urge is to protect....

Terri Schiavo came to public attention initially because of the legal battle between her husband and her parents. But her story stayed with us ordinary people, not just the ideological warriors—despite the welter of other concerns we move through in our daily lives. Something more than media manipulation is at play, pulling a surprising range of people of all faiths and no faith to one side or the other of the tug of war between the Schindlers and Michael Schiavo....

Stripped of its legal trappings, Terri Schiavo’s mystery is our mystery, the one we try to avoid most of the time. It’s about how we measure the inherent value of a particular life—your particular life or mine.

Terri Schiavo can’t speak for herself. Into the silence, we project our deepest anxieties about existence and significance. We all wrestle with the meaning of our lives, but we’re rarely called upon to quantify it or justify our existence before the court of public opinion. So Terri Schiavo becomes a surrogate for our self-evaluation on some cosmic scale. How would I weigh in if my life hung in the balance?

Indeed, the hubbub we're seeing right now is not about Terri exclusively. It is about how our society values life.

Powerline blog points out this David Gelernter piece from OpinionJournal.com, October 2003:

...who dares say you have no right to commune with your gravely ill child? To comfort your child? To pray for your child? Who dares say you have no right to hope that she will recover no matter what the doctors say? Who dares say you have no right to comfort, commune with and pray for her even if you have given up hope? Yes, the woman is mortally ill. Who dares say that her life is therefore worthless, to be cut off at her husband's whim?

....

The frightening question is: What happens to the next Mrs. Schiavo? And the next plus a hundred or a thousand? How much attention will the public and the Legislature be able to muster for this sort of thing over the years? The war against Judeo-Christian morality is a war of attrition. Time is on the instigators' side. They have all the patience in the world, and all the patients. If this one lives, there is always the next. After all, it's the principle of the thing....

Thoughtful people have argued: Once you start footnoting innocent human life, you are in trouble. Innocent life must not be taken, unless (here come the footnotes) the subject is too small, sick or depressed to complain. One footnote, people have argued, and the jig is up; in the long run the accumulating footnotes will strangle humane society like algae choking a pond.

Who would have believed when the Supreme Court legalized abortion that one generation later, only one, America would have come to this? Mrs. Schiavo's parents wanting her to live, pleading for her to live, the state saying no, and a meeting of the Legislature required to pry the executioner's fingers from the victim's throat?

I would never have made such an argument when the abortion decision came down, and I would never have believed it. I still can't believe it. Is this America? Do I wake or sleep?

UPDATE:
Polipundit has more coverage.

So does LaShawn Barber.

UPDATE 2:

Blogs for Terri has more, and it doesn't look good.

UPDATE 3:

Peggy Noonan has a column up on OpinionJournal.com:

But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.

So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live.

UPDATE 4:
Wizbang has more coverage.

UPDATE 5 [with bump to top]:

Tom DeLay speaks out:

WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today condemned the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube and pledged to continue working for a legal or legislative means to save her life.

"Right now, murder is being committed against a defenseless American citizen in Florida," DeLay said. "Terri Schiavo's feeding tube should be immediately replaced, and Congress will continue working to explore ways to save her.

"Mrs. Schiavo's life is not slipping away - it is being violently wrenched from her body in an act of medical terrorism," DeLay said. "Mr. Schiavo's attorney's characterization of the premeditated starvation and dehydration of a helpless woman as 'her dying process' is as disturbing as it is unacceptable. What is happening to her is not compassion - it is homicide. She doesn't need to die, and as long as Terri Schiavo can breathe and her supporters can pray, we will not rest."

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 March 2005 05:19 PM

Comments

Michael Schiavo dares say you can not commune with your gravely ill child! I can't believe he can get away with that... Hopefully that will soon change! Terri's parents have really been treated unfairly by michael. How does he get the right to refuse her parents from visiting Terri?

If it pleases the court a new guardian must be appointed!!! Very soon I might add.

Posted by: Linda at March 18, 2005 08:59 AM

That Fla. judge that said Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be removed needs to be removed from his seat on the bench.

Posted by: annika at March 18, 2005 02:03 PM

OH! MY GOSH... THIS IS A TOTAL DISREGARD OF TERRI'S RIGHTS . TERRI DID NOT HAVE A LIVING WILL!!!

MICHAEL SHIAVO IS ONLY DOING THIS BECAUSE HE HAS A NEW FAMILY! HE IS HER HUSBAND ONLY ON PAPER!

MIKE YOU REALLY NEED TO TAKE A HIKE. YOU AREN'T FOOLING ANYONE.

Posted by: linda at March 18, 2005 02:53 PM

Michael Schiavo won a 1.7million dollar malpractice suit for Terri. He say's there isn't any money! That money should have been invested for Terri's care, not for legal fees to meet her demise.

Terri does not have a living will!!! Her rights are being violated as a disabled person by pulling that feeding tube out.

Michael say's this is a family matter. Her family has been refused any say so.

MICHAEL SCHIAVO HAS A NEW FAMILY... MICHAEL NEEDS TO GET LOST.

Posted by: Ben at March 19, 2005 08:54 AM

Dear WILLisms.com, this story really hit home hard because Terri Schiavo is so much like my sister who was in a car wreck over 2 decades ago! I know you understand because my sister just so happens to be your Aunt.

I urge your readers to pick up there phones and call their Congressmen and Senators and give this woman a voice! since she can not speak for herself.

Michael Schiavo is clearly violating her rights as a handicapped person since she Does Not Have A Living Will. He obviously has a conflict of interest. He needs to relinquish his guardianship and get on with his new family.

Thank You!

Posted by: Linda at March 19, 2005 01:06 PM

Typical liberal mumbo jumbo , pro death ruling for Judge Whittmoore to rule Terri Schiavo will not have her feeding tube reinstated!!!!

Thanks!

Posted by: Zsa zsa at March 22, 2005 05:30 AM

This is not a liberal versus a conservative issue. This is an issue of getting your estate planning in order, before you go through something like this. If a living will was in place, this would not even be in the news at all. If you haven't done so, get a living will and don't put your family, nor govt. through this. This was the point of my posting at my blog. Do it NOW!

Nuff said....

Posted by: Chrysostomos at March 23, 2005 03:04 PM