Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Slave of the "Culture of Death"
I have commented before that "schiavo" is the Italian word for "slave". It is just too fitting that Terri Schiavo has become a pawn of the culture of death. The slaves of that culture have made her a slave for their purposes. I have been reading quite a bit about the Terri Schiavo drama. I am outraged at what is going on and not quite sure what to do about it. I believe that we have reached a new low, a turning point, and I fear for what this latest episode will mean for the world inherited by those who are now children. A couple of questions come to mind from the latest round of Terri reading I have been doing:

(1) Remember when we were told that feeding Terri was prolonging her dying? Remember when we were made to believe that without extreme medical intervention, Terri would not survive? Folks, if she was really dying already (and, therefore, food was only prolonging the agony) then why are we now in day 13 of her starvation? Why is it taking so long? Could it be that, despite being severely incapacitated, she was otherwise healthy? I know it takes days and days for an otherwise strong person to die from starvation, but why is it taking Terri so long, especially if somewhere in that quiet brain of hers, she has the original desire (as her husband claims) to die anyway? Just seems a little odd to me.

(2) I am sure a legal scholar could describe all sorts of minutia that contributed to the courts consistent rulings against Terri keeping her feeding tube. I can't enter into that debate. However, it seems clear that the crux of the argument of the Felos-Michael Schiavo camp is that Terri herself allegedly expressed to Michael a desire to not be kept alive if severely incapacitated and in a state such as hers. NONE of us can know whether that alleged conversation ever took place and, if it did, whether Michael's claim is an accurate account of Terri's wishes. There is no record of that alleged conversation (and certainly not a legally binding one) and Terri never made such wishes known to others in a manner that could be known without doubt. But you and I DO know something else about Terri's wishes, something that is public, that is fact, that is recognized by the courts, and which, it seems to me, ought to be given FAR MORE weight than the private words allegedly spoken to Michael. We know that Michael and Terri married. They stood before a community of others and publicly professed their love for each other and their committment to each other "...for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

We all know WITHOUT A DOUBT that Terri did publicly express her desire to be faithful to her husband and received what she hoped was his desire to be faithful to her in all of the above states of life. And even if you won't grant me that, we AT LEAST know this with more certitude than we know the claim that Terri told Michael she would not want to be kept alive in her current condition. Furthermore, we also know, because it is public record, that Michael has not been faithful to his wife, has not lived up to those vows he made with her in public. There is nothing private, alleged, or unknown about this: witnesses heard them both state their vows, the State recognizes its legitimacy, and it is publicly known that Michael has been living with a woman who is not his wife and has two children with her. Why is a private conversation, for which there is no record, and upon the truth of which Terri's very life rests, being given more weight than the public marriage vows which were proclaimed before multiple witnesses and which are recognized as legally true and binding by the State issuing the marriage license?

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