In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
On Thursday March 31, 2005, Theres Marie Schiavo died after being disconnected from fluids and nutrition 13 days previously. Whatever I may have felt about the “right to die” debate, I could not help but feel for Terri Schiavo. I know she did not feel anything, and her death was peaceful, but nevertheless, her whole story was composed tragedy upon tragedy. Now, she can rest, freed from the schackles of her persistent vegetative state and the life of this world.
I also can not help but feel compassion for her parents. Being a parent of two young daughters myself, I understand the pain they feel at watching their daughter dehydrate and later die. Again, their multiple desperate attempts at keeping their daughter alive highlight the multiple tragedies of this case.
Yet, I do not feel any ounce of good will, however, for the politicians who intervened in this case. These politicians convened a special session of Congress to pass a law – to “err on the side of life” – yet voted to cut Medicaid funding, which frequently serves as the sole source of funding for those kept alive by artificial means. These same politicians talk about a “culture of life,” yet support an illegal war based on faulty information – if not outright lies – as a result of which tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed. These same politicians claim they advocate less government in the life of the individual and believe in “States’ Rights,” yet pass a bill to do just the opposite. How pathetic.
Texas Rep. Tom DeLay angered me the most. In a press conference on the day Terri died, Rep. DeLay attacked “an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and the President.” Uh, excuse me, isn’t that what is called “checks and balances”? Isn’t that precisely the entire purpose of a separate and independent judiciary, to prevent one branch of government from usurping too much power? Isn’t that why we have such a great system of government? Judges are not supposed to be a “rubber stamp” for the actions of Congress and the White House. Tom DeLay has no right to be angry with the Federal judiciary system in this case.
In fact, Judge Stanley Birch Jr., one of the judges who ruled in the case, wrote that the action by the White House and Congress was “demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers’ blueprint for the governance of a free people – our Constitution.” He is a conservative appointed by Dubya’s own father, George H.W. Bush! Once again, how pathetic!
This all serve to reiterate what I said before, every one of us needs to make a decision about what to do at the end of life and make that decision clearly known to our doctors and loved ones. Let us do this so that Terri Schiavo will not have ever died in vain. May Terri Schiavo rest in peace and may her parents find peace as they yet live. Amen.