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March 21, 2005

No Such Thing As Justice

I live in the same county as Terri Schiavo. I know exactly where her hospice is located, I've seen the protesters, I've seen people driving around with SAVE TERRI shoe-polished onto their cars, and I've been inundated over the last three years (since I moved back to this area) with the latest news in her case.

I've mostly become able to ignore it all. I can see both sides of the issue - I don't believe this woman is truly living (her husband's position), but it's difficult to rationalize starving someone to death when they can breathe on their own (her parents' position).

There are so many questions that go beyond her specific case - What does it really mean to be alive? What about other mentally or physically handicapped people who cannot live without assistance? How long do you wait for signs that someone with a debilitating brain injury can recover? I honestly don't know which side here is "right" (although I lean towards thinking that the parents are in denial about their daughter's ability ever to recover in a meaningful way).

But here's what I do know - Tom DeLay is a moron. Tom DeLay, one of the most ethically-challenged congressmen in recent memory, someone who never met a travel or fundraising rule that he didn't feel like he was entitled to break, is a moron. Tom DeLay believes that Terri Schiavo is just as alive as the rest of us.

Really? I don't see anyone, Tom DeLay included, offering to trade places with this woman. I don't see DeLay offering that he would be happy to "live" the rest of his life in a bed, not moving, not speaking, not doing anything for himself, unaware of his surroundings, oblivious in every meaningful way to the world around him.

She's just as alive as the rest of us? I don't think so.

Unless the definition of alive is simply the ability to breathe on one's own. I don't think it is.

Congress needs to stay out of this. I find it really troubling that they think they have any right to get involved in what is a personal, private matter between the husband and the parents, one that has been weaving its way through the court system for years now.

My family knows two things about me when it comes to death and dying - I want to be cremated, and I don't want to be on life support for an extended period of time. Once it becomes obvious I won't recover - that I won't retain my essential Julieness - then pull the plug.

If I'm not me, if they can't recognize me as ME, then I'm just a body with no soul. I don't want to end like that.

Posted by Highwaygirl on March 21, 2005 10:51 AM to the category Current Affairs


Posted by: TVJ at March 21, 2005 12:38 PM

Good points, Highwaygirl. I've found myself in between on this too. And being a citizen of the state that Tom DeLay represents, I can vouch for the fact that he is an idiot with little ethical practice.

Posted by: Indigo at March 21, 2005 02:11 PM

Sigh. I agree with you on a lot of points, but disagree on others. You and I have talked about this, and I need to just journal about it on my own. With that said, excellent, well-written points as always! *mwah*

Posted by: Roo at March 21, 2005 02:20 PM

Excellent entry, Hwg. You said almost exactly what I was arguing yesterday, but far more eloquently.

The "essential Julieness" issue was something that my husband's family had to wrestle with this past summer in dealing with the accident and subsequent death of his niece. Given the extent of her brain damage, the doctors were certain that in the extremely unlikely event she did come out of her coma, she would have no chance of regaining anything even remotely resembling her normal life, much less be capable of the most basic of functions. Unfortunately, she was so young that the subject of what her wishes in regards to life support would be never came up, so her mother was forced to make that decision for her. In the end her mother took her off of life support because she knew that her daughter would never want to be "a body with no soul." Similar to Schiavo's family, my husband's family are all practicing Catholics and I know they grappled with that as well, but in the end the quality of life argument won out.

As for DeLay, I was "lucky" enough to have him as the congressmen for my old district and he's a complete asshole and hypocrite, IMO.

Posted by: Downeaster_Alexa at March 21, 2005 07:16 PM
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