Saturday, March 26, 2005

More Schiavo posts

I had intended to write a thoughtful post about how my feelings on this matter derive not from any sort of medical or metaphysical certitude on my part, but rather from my recognition of my own limited knowledge and information, and the fact that the authoritative means by which these tragic situations are decided have, time and time again (I heard on CNN that there have been something like 26 separate hearings on the case), concluded that Terri Schiavo made known her wishes not to be kept alive under these situations and that her wishes should therefore be honored.

Then Josh Marshall did pretty much the same thing. Here's an excerpt:

The only clarity I've been able to see in this case or find in it is that there is a set of laws governing these issues in Florida and those laws appear to have been followed. Not only followed, but now submitted to numerous appeals. As for the medical questions involved -- specifically, Shiavo's level of awareness or consciousness -- from what I can tell, every independent doctor who has examined her has put her in the PVS category. Those who don't turn out to be either quacks or doctors who didn't do a complete examination.

That doesn't mean those legal or medical judgments are correct. But I know that those judgments have been arrived at by people with vastly more expertise and information at their disposal than I have.

Obviously, I lack any medical understanding to judge these issues myself and I don't know that much about the legal history of the case. But the one thing I'm quite clear on is that I won't get any more clarity on either point from the comic book coverage coming out of CNN and the rest of the cable networks. And the folks who've poured gasoline on this fire for cheap political reasons are truly beneath contempt.

And it turns out that they're also wildly out of step with public opinion on this issue. I pity the responsible, reasonable Republicans and conservatives who are caught up in this circus of cretinism; visit John Cole's site to see what I'm talking about.

Meanwhile, conservative radio host Neil Boortz, of whom I don't think I'd ever heard until I clicked a link at Andrew Sullivan's site, has this to say:

These feelings give rise to some questions of my own; questions for the devoutly religious people who are fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive. Do you believe in God’s promise of everlasting life? Do you believe that the reward for a life well spent on this earth is a life with God in heaven after you die? If you do, then a few more questions if you will.

Do you believe that the human soul can make the transition to everlasting life while the human body that carried that soul through life clings to life on this earth? If you do, then you must surely believe that Terri Schiavo has earned and is already enjoying her reward in heaven. That being the case, why is it so important to you that the now-unneeded body of Terri Schiavo is kept alive?

But perhaps you believe, as I do, that the human soul is so connected to and integrated with its earthly body that any transition will not be made until that body ceases functioning -- until death occurs.. That being the case, why do you so ardently desire that the soul of Terri Schiavo spend five, ten, perhaps 30 years or more trapped in a useless and non-functioning body, unable to move on to whatever reward awaits her? Isn’t 15 years enough?

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