Thursday, March 31, 2005

Obligatory Terri Schiavo Post: I almost let this go, because Scott Card already said most of what I wanted to say.

From a perfectly selfish standpoint, I was sort of upset this came up right now. I was in the process of writing a science fiction story dealing with euthanasia that was meant to be an indictment of reality television, but with this case at the forefront of everyone's minds, I fear it will skew the reader's reaction in a way it will be impossible to compensate for.

I will never know what the right answer was in this case. For all I know, Terry looked her husband deep in the eyes the last morning she spoke to him and pleaded with him that if anything ever happened to her, to pull the plug and let her die. He may be valiantly trying to fulfill that wish.

But we've learned far more about each other, about how we feel about each other, about how we really want to treat each other, than we learned about this woman or about her family.

I come across post after post that goes something like: "There's really no bad guy in this. Everybody's doing what they think is best. Except those religious people. They're just nuts."

I've been listening to idiot talk show hosts screaming for this woman's death, vilifying anyone who wanted to keep her alive as being ignorant and extremist, scientifically and medically illiterate.

Forgive me, but what is ignorant and extreme about erring on the side of life? What is worth shouting about if someone wants to grant a helpless woman the same rights afforded death row inmates?

In my case, my predisposition shows up in my feelings.

Many people, even Card, are attributing motives to the husband in this case. I go to no such extreme. I know nothing of the man--I haven't so much as seen his picture, so I cannot guess his motives.

But there is one group that does have an ulterior motive in this that is bent on Schiavo's death, and who has purely selfish motives for insuring it happen.

That is the judiciary. The judiciary of this country has decided that allowing Terry Schiavo to live would have weakened the grasp they have on the governing of this country, a grip they absolutely refuse to release.

Card points out a criminal can receive a Presidential pardon, but the sick cannot.

Similarly, a law that has been "killed" by a Presidential veto can receive a congressional "pardon" by the Congress, if they can raise enough votes. Madison goes on at some length in the Federalist Papers about why the President was not given the absolute veto.

However, under the current system, there is no such hope for laws "vetoed" by the courts. As it was explained to me, the majority opinion that led to Schiavo's death was not, as Congress requested, based on a de novo look at the facts of the case. Instead, it ruled that Congress's request was unconstitutional, and that no such inquiry should be made.

The courts have granted themselves the absolute veto, in spite of many of the founders' objections to such power. It was more important for the courts to censure the Congress and the Chief Executive than to recognize Schiavo's right to life.

Those in favor of saving her are accused of "ignoring the facts" and trying to "denounce the court's power rather than acknowledge the validity of their ruling."

In reality, it is the judges who aren't looking at the actual facts of the case, and are, instead, ruling based on interpretations of how lines in the sand should be drawn rather than on evidence and proof and the fundamental principles of the founding documents.

They're truly straining at gnats while swallowing camels.

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