Wednesday, March 30, 2005

MH - Are There Lasting Effects from Terri Schiavo?

From Jay Nordlinger's column on NRO today, mostly regarding Terri:
I am asked — by readers — whether I think the Bushes have done enough. The answer is no. I am further asked whether Governor Jeb should go for the (Bill)
Bennett option: Do what it takes to feed Mrs. Schiavo, risk impeachment and jail. Yes. There is more to being an American — and more to being a leader — than following the edicts of judges.

Hear, hear! And another:
To continue to ramble: We are told that, no matter what, this debate is "agonizing," "anguishing," etc. No, it isn't. I do not believe that the Schiavo matter is a close call. There are hard cases in this country, and the world, and this isn't one of them. If Terri Schiavo must be starved to death — dehydrated, whatever — then patients in other circumstances have no chance whatever.

Mrs. Schiavo has parents willing to feed her and watch over her. No one else need lift a finger. Terri Schiavo's continued existence is no skin off anyone else's nose. No one need bestir himself; no one has to visit; everyone can just go on doin' his thing: drinkin', buyin' Lotto tickets, chasing the neighbor's daughter — whatever. People can go on studying Shakespeare or exploring Patagonia. Terri's parents ask for nothing except that their daughter not be starved to death.

Not all of his correspondents agree with him (he's receiving the usual amount of hate mail that supporters of Terri have been getting), but here's a very interesting comment he received from an emailer:
With the deluge of mail you get, I doubt you'll read this, but I'll feel better for saying it. This case has been eating away at my heart. For the first time, even after eight years of Bill Clinton, I want to say I'm ashamed to be an American. . . . Even people in my own party seem more inclined to gripe about state sovereignty.

As I said earlier, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if something bad happened to this country because of the way its agencies have handled the Schiavo case, and I predict it's going to become harder and harder to get Americans like the gentleman above to really believe that it's a country worth fighting for.

I like reading Nordlinger, not just because of his music reviews (which are excellent), but because of columns like this, which really hit at the core of this issue. And I much prefer his column to today's by Jonah Goldberg, entitled "Conservatism isn't dying with Terri Schiavo":
Whatever you think of the legislative branch's involvement, it's doubtful the issue will be a political albatross for the GOP any more than, say, the Elian Gonzales scandal permanently tarnished the Democrats. Indeed, recall that the Clinton impeachment drive was far more deleterious for the GOP's standing in the polls over a far longer period of time, and if that effort did permanent damage to the Republican party, it's hard to find today. The federal government is run by Republicans for as far as the eye can see.
Now in fairness to Goldberg, he's been pretty good on this issue. But as I wrote yesterday, I'm really getting tired of people allowing labels to dictate their thinking. He may be right that the federal government is run by Republicans, but to that I say "so what?" This just adds fuel to the fire of those who say that Republicans and Democrats are just flip sides of the same coin. If you think this country is going to hell in a handbasket, you probably also don't see that the Republican majority is doing anything to prevent it.

To recap, you can be morally consistant in your thinking without restricting yourself to an ideological tagline. If "conservatives" can't figure this out - and here I'm talking about the conservatives who are putting economics or federalism or whatever excuse they want ahead of saving this woman's life, who seem to think the judicial tyranny is sacrosanct enough that they shy away from engaging in hand-to-hand combat over it - then perhaps, to coin the phrase by Emmett Tyrrell, it's time that there is a conservative crack-up.



    It's a sad day when an innocent's death must be celebrated as a victory by anybody. But when that innocent had previously expressed her wish to die in this circumstance, and the unholy monster of politically fundamentalist Christianity had lumbered in, spewing vitriol and lies and maligning Michael Schiavo, and the manifestly corrupt Tom DeLay has used the situation as a massive distraction from his own crimes, and hundreds of herd-animals with crosses are kneeling and praying and letting their kids get arrested for a bunch of other herd-animals with cameras and microphones?

    Through the sheer, unyielding strength of our corporatist-right media, which can be critical of religious nutjobs abroad but, strangely, not at home, and through their 2004-derived political influence, they thought they could reject the rule of law in this country. We saw nothing less than an attempted mini-coup-d'etat in the last weeks, and the resilience and continued legitimacy of our judicial system, the last political institution largely unsullied by Christian fanaticism in this America, is a victory.

    Their noses are bloodied. And they'll be back. But today is a day to celebrate.

    RIP, Ms. Schiavo.

  2. Ethan,

    An interesting comment, to say the least! Since the viewpoint of this blog is manifestly obvious by looking at the content, I have to wonder why you're reading us in the first place, since you obviously have a belief other than our own.

    First off, we have no evidence that Terri expressed her wish to die - only the statements by her husband, which have to be considered with suspicion. Notice that I do not say that he is lying; we don't know that for a fact. I merely say that his behavior lends credence to the idea that one cannot take his comments simply at face value.

    Second, I think very few people involved in this have paid much attention to Tom DeLay at all. I certainly haven't. I venture to say that it is you using his participation as a distraction from the fundamental issue, which is that this situation, whether you choose to look at it as assisted suicide or mercy killing, or whether you see it as murder, which I do, is a violation of natural law. Not a conservative or liberal law, not a Catholic or Protestant or agnostic law, but natural law. You know, the one Jefferson talked about.

    I must chuckle at your comment about corporatist-right media. Had you read our posts, you would know that we at Our World have very little time for corporate America. While you may have touched on the truth in suggesting that corporations have an undue influence in many aspects of American life, including the media, I think you'd be way off base in suggestion that this in some way links to a conservative or right-wing ideology. The corporate emphasis on new-age spiritualism, diversity, political correctness, and other secularist policies, certainly points 180 degress opposite the direction you suggest. By looking at Terri in terms of her usefulness and functionality, which is surely what you are doing, you view her as a commodity, which makes you much closer to the corporate way of thinking that you have just condemned! You'd make an excellent corporate officer! I think you've been misinformed by your own ideological blindness!

    The legitimacy of our judicial system is continually open to question. Certainly the Founders would think it illegitimate, in the sense that unelected judges have usurped the will of the people. And the continuing criticism of "Christian fanaticism" that comes from the pro-death crowd is so tiresome, one hardly knows where to begin. A question for you, Ethan - do you, in fact, believe in the existence of Christ? Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior? I don't want to evangelize you, merely to figure out where you stand, whether you're sincerely an agnostic or non-believer, or someone who has a viewpoint of Christian ideals that is, to say the least, different from my own.

    To reiterate: human life is sacred. Our Holy Father demonstrates that every day. Why you, as so many are, seem to be in love with death, is a mystery to me.

    But I do want to thank you for your comments Ethan, and encourage you to respond if you so choose, as long as you do it in a civil and intelligent manner. And I also want to thank you for fulfilling a very important role, which is giving the moderator a chance to look good! Without people like you serving up softball questions that can easily be answered, we'd have a much harder time. I hope our readers don't think this comment was deliberately put up just so we could provide these answers! ;)



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