Oft Evil Will Doth Evil Mar
More, this pathetic display of corrupt political power has evidently helped drive Bush's approval ratings lower than the Edsel's sales figures. The failing Social Security sales pitch had already done a good deal of damage. Might be time for another Orange Alert, Dubya.
Light dawned over the White House first, I suspect. No sooner had Bush flown back from Crawford to join the grandstanding and sign the legislation than the administration fell strangely silent on the issue. Brother Jeb evidently hasn't gotten the message that the issue has passed from non-starter to active liability, since he's still trying to wring political advantage from the misery of this family. Tom Delay, who is so desperate to avoid his own corruption scandal that he'll hide behind the bed of a brain-dead woman seems also to have missed this train. Rush Limbaugh hasn't gotten it, either. He still thinks it's a liberal vs. conservative issue, but then, to his drug-addled mind, having fries with that is probably a liberal vs. conservative issue
There are two sides to this question, but they're not the expected ones. On the one hand we have the compulsive sentimentalists for whom "sanctity of life" is a pure and abstract concept. On the other side are those of us for whom end-of-life decisions have been a painful reality. It begins to seem that people who have had to concur in that last decision, or who have the foresight to know they may have to, far outnumber the vile opportunists and superficial romantics. We have one thing in common: we don't want other people deciding this for us, whether they be doctors, clergy, talking heads or Congressvolken.
Rush reportedly has asked liberals "why do you want Terri to die?" Now of course, he asked this in the safety of his own talk show, and apparently as a parting shot, so no one could respond.
Even though I'm more radical than liberal, here's an answer. I don't want anyone to die pointlessly. Anyone who is not blinded by ideology can at least listen and learn the effects of 15 years of progressive cerebral atrophy, and thus see that this woman won't recover. In the cognitive sense, she is already long dead. Don't talk to me about smiles: corpses can smile. What I want, very much, is for this woman not to die being an ideological pull toy. I want someone to have the courage to sit down with her parents and begin the process of dismantling their denial, help move them through their grief instead of encouraging them to stay where they are. And I really, really want news media and clergy to stop using her first name, as if she were someone who had deliberately sought this macabre celebrity.
If I were a pure ideologue, I'd like some judge to put that tube back in. I'd like Congress to subpoena her. I'd like the world to be treated to the obscene spectacle of sleazy opportunists putting questions to a woman who is past having any idea of self. As an ideologue, I'd love it if everyone could see some unexpurgated footage of the daily life of the brain-dead: oh yes, and of Ms. Schiavo too. As an ideologue, I would want the world to see how low this one-party government can sink.
But I'm a humanist, and I hope a humane person. I do not want to advance my beliefs through the exploitation of anyone. That, more than anything, is what separates me from those who use Ms. Schiavo and her family.
Jesse Jackson has put in his appearance and his oar on the Schiavo case. He must think that his religious credentials need burnishing. Why (ones asks with sweet innocence) has he waited a week for his sound bite? I suspect that as long as this woman lingers, she will attract opportunists of every condition, much as a drop of blood attracts sharks.
It happens I have a friend, a nurse, who has done end-of-life care. Basic maintenance of eye and mouth moisture is a simple comfort measure, she says, usual in this situation. It does not violate any DNR protocols. What's up with the hospice's apparent failure to do these things? I smell an administration too paralysed with fear of the contending parties to stick to standard protocol. I hope it's not deliberate neglect from some other hospice employee with an eye on the book rights.