I just noticed the Terri Schiavo has died today. How strange that this woman, who might have lived a rather uneventful existance (much like the rest of us) , has given a legacy of reawakening to the moral struggles of our age.
One of the issues, although not the primary one, is that of the type of diatribe seen developing at Jeff Jarvis’ Anti-Defamation League.
No, I don’t expect widespread persecution of Christians, even fundamental Christians, in this country anytime soon, and I am not comparing the present situation to the traditional one that Jews have faced…I’m just saying I am beginning to see that it is a long-term and dedicated determination to offset the easily ignited seeds of wildfire that leads to that sort of situation: persecutions.
That is probably something you will see concerning more blogposts topics here @ truegrit.
I am against denigration of people on the basis of creed and race – across the board. I am going to start pointing out why it is not OK to coddle your own little exemptions to build “Elder of Zion” types of lies. They are lies, you know.
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I hope to see more posts from you on this issue and its implications. I have been appalled by the treatment of anyone who spoke from a religious perspective. But anyone who pointed out the obvious – that the woman was not dead and not dying and not brain dead was castigated in the press for being irrational.
Ilona-I haven’t forgotten about you…I did manage to inadvertently erase your interview questions. So sorry! I am trying to wean myself from the world of blog, but I savor your intelligent entries and shall keep reading.
Cold comfort regarding society’s present disregard for life, but: “Earth is a desert drear, Heaven is our home!”
Hope all’s well with you. I’ve not been around much, having managed to shift my focus to the real world a bit 😉 Oh yeah, and not having a computer’s contributed to that.
I thought this case would enrage you, and it’s been on the news over here – the focus has been not so much on the struggle between husband and family over Terri’s fate, but on how the case has “divided America”. If you believe the media, mind, America must be in so many pieces by now…
I’m inclined to believe there’s a real divide, which is present in all societies and which it is currently unfashionable to mention, and an artificial divide, which this case is an example of. I’m not sure how much space you have in comment box, so I will refrain from ranting on, but I wonder.
In fact both sides of the argument “Terri should be allowed to live/allowed to die” were making the same case seen from different angles. The concern for all was that she was suffering, and everyone wanted to line up on “Terri’s side.” IOW, they were imagining “What if I were Terri?”. Both sides suspected the other side’s representatives – the husband and the family – of all kinds of sinister motives from the psychological to the monetary.
So on one level it was a soap-opera response to a soap-opera question. You can’t draw any deeper meaning from the public response than “No-one wants to end up like Terri, and people feel sorry for her.”
There are political issues – after all, the personal is political – over the handling of this case, especially in the US where people are concerned variously about the President’s pronouncements and the role of the courts. But I don’t see it as any kind of proof that society has “disregard for life” “disrespect for the religious” or anything else.
Oh yeah, and while I’m on the soapbox…
“I am against denigration of people on the basis of creed and race – across the board. I am going to start pointing out why it is not OK to coddle your own little exemptions to build “Elder of Zion” types of lies. They are lies, you know. ”
This is correct – lies are lies, no matter which group they are targeted at. However, don’t “creed and race” really represent two different concepts which can’t be treated in the same way?
If you remember, back in the day we had our little arguments, coming as we do from the opposite sides of the political and religious spectrums. I maintain my position as do you on both of these things. If we take “creed” as meaning “what one believes” that’s surely up for anything in the way of questioning and responses – even up to the hostile? I’m still trying to see what separates religion from a deeply held political belief, so that the first must be seen as a value-neutral thing, neither good nor bad (IOW just part of a person, like their race) and therefore immune from criticism, whereas the second is up for whatever you can chuck at it. It makes more sense to see both religion and politics as open to question and the holder of any strong belief as capable of defending it.
(I think Judaism is in a slightly more complicated position, having characteristics of both belief and race, so I’ll leave that out for the moment.)
Mark Steel (UK lefty comedian) was moaning about a proposed Bill which would see “religious hatred” and denigrating religions move to the position presently occupied by “racial hatred” and race-motivated crimes in law. This caused a bit of a flurry as atheists etc were concerned their rights were under threat. (What would be your opinion of religious hatred/insulting another’s religion becoming a crime in US law?) Anyway, he said “I’m off to get Trotskyism registered as a religion, then next time someone tells me I’m talking a load of shit, I can get them sent to jail for five years…”
Interesting questions, and since Ilona hasn’t weighed in I will take the liberty of intruding myself.
No, we can have no limits to free speech in the US unless the speech is inciting crimes. We are an incredibly diverse society and we need to battle our issues out in public or we are lost.
No, there is something different between the sides (but there are certainly more than two). One side (either deeply imbued with science or religion) concedes her state was unknowable. We did not know the degree of her consciousness (and no attempt had been made to find that out under current protocols). We did not know if she truly had a current preference. We did not know if she were suffering. We did not know. And to some, that means caution. It is impossible to decide a person’s fate wisely without knowledge of that person’s circumstances. It is irrational not to attempt to ascertain those circumstances.
If you do not have any objective knowledge, then you can make a decision based only upon your own reactions and imagination. To some that is a completely offensive imposition upon individual rights. To some it is the only possible way to proceed in such a case. These are dramatically different world views.
What offends me the most about the media coverage was their automatic denigration of those who thought Terri’s treatment was doubtful as being inspired by religious fanaticism. There were many who objected on purely medical grounds and there were many who objected on political and historical grounds.
This was in no sense a soap-opera question. This was a question of a life. That life has now been ended. We cannot know with what degree of objective cruelty, but we can know with great certainty that this precedent will have far-reaching effects.
There is a reason, Vash, why the disability groups are very disturbed. In Terri’s case, the judge ruled that she could not be given food and water by mouth. This is very far from removing life support. When spoon-feeding becomes life support, you have muddled the line between life and death in a terrifying manner.
What you haven’t read is that the Pinellas Park authorities shut down all parking and made people walk miles to get in. This operated to prevent the disabled from protesting. What you probably haven’t read is that 26 disability groups filed before the court to prevent Terri’s death on the stated grounds. What you haven’t read is that far more doctors disagreed with the judgement of Terri as being PVS than did. What you probably haven’t read is that the Michigan and California Supreme Courts had previously rejected starving people to death in very similar cases, and Dr. Cranford was the chief witness claiming that those people were unconscious. This time the bioethicist lobby won.
What you probably also haven’t read is the consistent refrain among the bioethicists wanting to disallow people’s living wills. They go so far as to state that society (not doctors, society) should decide when a person is dying and what type of death is a “good death”. The issues are now very clear to anyone who knows the facts, Vash.
I’m back in my virtual world- I wanted to make jokes about pontificating, but thought that unseemly given the present circumstances. People don’t get my jokes usually anyway ( prob’ly for good reason).
I am not for legislating ‘hate crime’ punishments or protection against verbal religious disrespect. I think that the public forum should be the place to combat such things. That is why I don’t mind bulldogging – to the consternation of my targets.
Legislation has too much leeway for exploitation – it puts too much force and teeth into one side of the argument. Woe unto those on the opposite side, and that could make for a nightmare of oppression.
-so I wouldn’t want it for my side because I wouldn’t want it used against me-sort of a golden rule scenario.
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