Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A pawn in an ideological war: Shiavo rides again


Greetings from the home stretch of the spring semester my good friends and bitter enemies, the weather is warming, the snow is almost gone and the love is in the air.
No where is this more evident than in Florida, where the Schiavo case has grasped the United States media by the throat and refuses to let go until the Constitution is ignored or Mrs. Schiavo is dead. We can always count on Florida for a weird story and this is no exception.
I'm sure everyone out there is either sick of this news item or intentionally staying away from it because they are truly unsure of what side of the fight they're on. There is nothing wrong with admitting ignorance in cases such as this. This particular media frenzy is an extreme case that has been turned in to a fight between the politics of the left and the right.
I feel that I must give a brief synopsis of the events surrounding the case of Mrs.
Schiavo to the best of my ability.
Keep in mind that I do not profess to have all the facts in this case because, quite frankly, there seems to be a tremendous amount of posturing and hearsay on both sides.
Approximately fifteen years ago Terri Schiavo was diagnosed with a potassium deficiency, which somehow resulted in permanent brain damage. Schiavo has been in what is called a light coma or unresponsive state for duration of her illness. There are those who allege she is responsive and simply not vocal, however, she does have brain damage and will never make a complete recovery. Mrs. Schiavo does not have the ability to feed herself and has been fed through a feeding tube during her illness.
The controversy that has caused this case to blow up in the national media is that her husband, who, for the past 10 has been with a woman who is now his common-law wife (whom he has two children with) has demanded that her feeding tube be removed and she be allowed to die.
Mrs. Schiavo's family has taken her husband to court in an attempt to regain custody, but due to spousal custody laws they have been unsuccessful in this latest attempt. Previously they had court orders by Florida judges that demanded the feeding tube be reinserted and Mrs. Schiavo live on in her current state.
Previously Florida Governor Jeb Bush had ordered a bill through the Florida legislature that was essentially a self-destructing bill that was only applicable for the time it took for Schiavo?s feeding tube to be reinserted. This time Governor Bush does not have the power to take such action again and those for keeping Schiavo alive are demanding he break laws and find a way and those for letting her die are demanding respect for constitutional law and a hands off approach.
My opinion is that this is a hot button issue because it pits the ideological left against the hated right and these politics have used Mrs. Schiavo as a battleground for the ongoing ideological war between red and blue. As I stated above, this is an extreme case because of the current life of Michael Schindler and the hearsay about his feelings for Terri as well as the lack of any exact medical opinion about the state of Terri Schiavo. There are simply too many variables to make an honest decision about this case.
Again, this is just my humble opinion, but I cannot allow myself to make a judgment that I'll be confident in and I would not pretend to have an opinion on the issue unless I could physically look in to her eyes and see if someone was looking back at me. If she is out of it and truly does not know what's going on around her then I cannot see why she shouldn't be granted the right to die. On the other side, if I saw a helpless woman actually looking back at me I would demand every possible medical test be done to help her and make sure a living, conscious being isn't being sent to her death.
I hesitate to air this opinion, but it is something that I have difficulty separating the zeal and sides of the Schiavo case from pro-life and pro-choice arguments.
Mrs. Schiavo seems to have appealed to two very different sects of the population.
There are those who want her to live and they are coincidentally the same people who are prolife and then those who want to end her pain are the same who are in favor of abortions. In no way am I siding with either, I just have difficulty looking at this case when I think of it in terms of this poor woman being turned in to a pawn in an ideological war between two political extremes.
My abortion parallel aside my opinion in this case is that the Constitution must be followed exactly and there should be no special maneuvering by the legislative or executive branches in order to circumvent the process to advance their particular belief concerning Mrs.
Schiavo. If the proper channels are gone through and detailed reviews are done by the courts then I will allow myself to have faith in the judicial branch and allow the process to govern itself.
I do not think the Supreme Court, Congress, or President Bush should be involved and the process should be up to the physicians attending to Shiavo and both sides of her family. I reserve judgment on this case because it is not a member of my family and I cannot put myself in their shoes. All I can do is respect the government and hope that the system is set up in a way that is as fair as possible.
This is not a clear-cut case for either side and it is truly extreme when the peripherals are taken in to account.


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