Terri: Kicking The Horse Some More
I was going to let the topic rest, but three recent articles on the topic have forced me to make another comment. Let me start with one I saw on Counterpunch.
Dr. Teresa Whitehurst wrote a piece entitled "We're Walking Right into a Trap
Misleading Shiavo Polls Blind Progressives for New Stealth Campaign" to so embodies the problem with "liberals":
By siding with her husband, we shoot ourselves in the foot in two ways: (1) we are reinforcing patriarchal nuclear family values as ensconced in the conservative circles ("when you marry, you leave your family and cleave to your spouse") and in the US legal system, wherein the spouse automatically has more authority over the incapacitated individual than his or her family of origin, and (2) we willingly give up all claims to supporting real "family values" (the extended family, not just the Dobson/Falwell nuclear family) such that we lay ourselves open to inaccurate but persuasive charges that we're "anti-family".
Progressives have been conspicuously silent regarding the family's suffering, and most won't even consider her parents' claims that Terri might not want to be starved to death, even in her present condition. The radical right, however, is busy endearing itself to the public-all those millions of average Joes who get all their news from TV, and are watching Terri's withering little body, sad face, desperate parents and the conservative leaders lending them sympathy and support. For the viewing public, I'm afraid it's Michael Schiavo, the man who's forcing his will on Terri and her family, who's speaking for us, and for liberal/progressive values.
Come election time, the masses will remember who's who. If we don't speak up and speak up now, here's the equation that millions of voters will remember at the polling booth, just as the Bush administration hopes: Sympathetic to dying woman and her family=Conservatives. Unsympathetic to dying woman and her family=Liberals.
While I don't disagree with her general conclusion that every attempt will be made to "Sympathetic to dying woman and her family=Conservatives. Unsympathetic to dying woman and her family=Liberals. " the problem with her piece is that she offers absolutely no position for "liberals." Hers is take all sides which, as we saw in the last election translates into "take no sides." But let me address the issues of the above paragraph:
Dr. Whitehurst supposes that by siding with Mr. Shiavo, we are upholding a patriarchal nuclear family setting. This is pure rubbish. What we are doing is upholding the law that ones spouse, be they male or female has the legal authority to make medical decisions for their spouse. That is not patriarchy. We are not saying that only husbands should be able to speak for thier wives. Dr. Whitehurst would like for the law to allow evverybody that the patient is related to to be able to make decisions on behalf of the patient. How rediculous is that? Perhaps Dr. Whitehurst does not understand that it is assumed, by the law, that ones spouse would have had discussions about life, death and possible medical care with the person the actually co-habitate and likely share children and monies with. The person they are most likely to depend upon for extended medical care should that be neccessary. It is also given that the spouse probably knows things about their partner that parents never ever knew. I mean I know parents that think their grown children aren't haveing sex. So it is laughable to the point of absurdity to suggest that by upholding the law that gives equal power to either spouse is "Patriarchal" but that must be the "feminist" speaking.
On the issue of the extended family,. how far should we take the powers of extended family? What if each member has wildly differing views on what should be done? Who triumphs? I wouldn't want to see that litigation at all. No, it is a wise choice to have clear lines of sucession and deliniation as to who legally can speak for an incapacitated patient. This way everybody knows their place and we have some kind of order.
So what should so called "liberals" be doing> They should be pounding the public with facts. Everybody and their momma has an opionion about what is going on, but very few are medical professionals. Even fewer know that such decisions are made everyday across the country. The "Liberals" ought to be buying air time to air videos on the subject, perhaps a documentary on all the steps that have been taken and how the case got to where it is. Lastly Liberals have the unique opportunity for standing up for "law and order" a bread and butter issue foor Republicans and many conservative groups. They should be constantly barraging the public of the spectre of government intervention in all parts of thier lives, They should be pounding the American "ideal" of government non-interference in personal lives. Lastly, anywhere a "liberal" gets on a talkshow with the opposition, they should ask the oppposition if they would trade places wiith Terri Shiavo. They should suggest that for the duration of the program that the opposition be strapped to a chair and forbidden to speak or move. This would, in my opinion show just how hypocritical these people are.
Basically it comes down to this: This is a legal issue, not a medical one. It is about the respect for indiviidual rights and the right of individuals to make legal decisions without interferences from government or religious authorities. Period.
The next piece I need to address is one announcing that Jesse Jackson will be visiting Terri Shiavo at the hospice that she is in, at the request of the Schindler family. Now I understand that Jesse Jackson is a reverend may probably has issues with the removal of the feeding tube. He has every right to go where he wants and say what he likes. However, given his background I think it is a mistake to make a press conference out of this. I think it will be an even bigger mistake if he attempts to do the "for black folks.." speech. This has to be the first time that I am in agreement with my peers who dislike the "Head Negro" phenomenon. This is a bad thing to do IMHO.
However one person is probably tickled pink by this action. The person I speak of is Mychal Masie who has clearly taken the side of law breaking and imposition one groups opinions over another. Says Massie:
The Terri Schiavo case is not about a right to life or a right to death; it is about a right to humanity, protection under the law and morality. These basic provisions having been denied her, Florida, indeed America, becomes no better than the societal sewers of the world that sanction indiscriminate euthanasia.
Damn right this is not about right to life of right to death. Damn right it is about right to humanity and protection under the law and morality. I mean at first glance you'd think Massie understands. This is about Terri telling her husband that she would not want to be in that condition in perpetuity and he, having the legal right to represent her, carrying out that wish. Had that wish been to do any and everything that would be her right under the law too AND her husband would be legally bound to honor that. On the Morality issue. Who's Morals? Muslim Morals? Buddhist Morals? Oh I forgot, if you're not a Christian you HAVE NO MORALS worth considering! Imaging that,. This Negro, whome under the Dread Scott decision , had no rights that any white man should honor, is now arguing that anyone who does not have "Christian Values" ought to have their rights ignored. The Irony!
We have been led to believe that our system of government protects the innocent, the helpless and that our laws are humane and moral. Terri Schiavo has shown us that such is not the case. Judge Greer has shown us the intolerable inflexibility of the courts toward all but the corrupt.
No Mr. Massie The government does not protect the innocent. It actually passes laws that allow for innocents to be jailed without representation and without being charged with a crime. It has passed legislation allowing people who would go bankrupt to remain in debt for as long as they live. It is considering cutting Social Security to the Baby Boom generation. I could go on, but I don't think Massie is quite interested in that conversation. He's merely mouthing off what his white conservative masters tell him to, so the lack of logic on his part is somewhat forgivable. And he attacks Greer who reviewed more medical evidence than Massie has the capacity to understand and made a ruling based on facts. Not Bible stories. Not that which he wished was the case, but the actual facts. I mean if only all law was practiced that way. But Massey believes that's being corrupt. Imagine that! Following the rules is corrupt. Breaking the rules in not corrupt. And the world is flat too.
Of course when the argument holds no water then you make things personal (Oh I guess I fell into that too....ha haaaa):
It is hard too argue in favor of morality in law when what amounts to a former spouse, a man with a common-law wife and two children some 15 years after the fact, is given standing to make life-and-death decisions despite there being capable, willing parents. How can this man be common-law married to one woman yet still make decisions for Terri, whom he has not divorced? Is that not tantamount to bigamy? At the very least is it not a direct conflict of interest?
Oh first of all, Terri has been in her state for 14 years. The first three Mr Shiavo worked with terris parents to get treatment so how is it that Massie gets 15 years? That would mean that Massie is trying to imply that Mr Shiavo was having an affair before the stroke (or whatever that was). I mean that's some seriously wrong math. But of course Massie does not state why Mr. Schiavo won't divorce his wife and give them custody of terri: He said he made an oath to his wife and planned to keep it. I mean in a society that has a 50% divorce rate, you'd think we'd applaud Mr. Schiavo for keeping his vows. He has also stated (the validity of which we can never know) that the parents of Terri are considering removing her limbs as a means of 'reviving" terri. If true that would truely be gruesome.
The next point that Massie makes, which takes up the bulk of his argument is about pet abuse laws.I tell you what. I agree that there are some really dumb pet laws on the books and that in some cases you can do things to people that could land you in jail if you did them to an animal. I say change those laws. But in reality it has nothing to do with this case. It is a red herring, like many other arguments out there.
Well it's been real folks.