Sunday, March 20, 2005

Terri Schiavo, President Bush and Bo Gritz

Schiavo, Bush and Gritz.

Whoever thought we would see those three names linked together? But they are. And this sad case just keeps getting sadder. I was getting ready for bed when I watched the news and got even angrier than I already am about the Terri Schiavo case in Florida. The latest is that President Bush is RUSHING back to the White House to sign emergency legislation to push the case into federal courts.

Forget that this isn't really constitutional. Forget that this is the second anniversary of the bungled war in Iraq and THIS is what Bush chooses to focus on today.

Oh, I forgot. He is the "respect life president." However, he didn't respect life when he signed execution warrants for 152 Death Row inmates while he was governor of Iraq. I guess he is only the "respect life president" of helpless women. So he only respects the life of CERTAIN people.

He certainly did not respect the lives of the more than 1,500 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq in the past two years, nor the estimated 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and civilians killed in the conflict. Oh that's right. Their deaths were all part of the War on Terror. A war based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. So I guess it was okay. I guess their deaths weren't worth some emergency legislation.

The right to life is a tricky subject and one I struggle with as a Catholic. I am vehemently anti-Death Penalty. I have always felt this way, but it was reinforced when I was a courts reporter and sat through a number of Death Penalty cases. Sentencing someone to death causes no peace. No peace. Not for the victims' families or the killer's families.

I would never get an abortion, yet I support the right to choose. That is a mortal sin in the eyes of the Catholic church.

But how is it NOT a sin for politicians to rush in and try an intervene in a very private family matter? I have gone back and forth on the Schiavo case many times in the last fifteen years. For the most part, I have supported her husband. But sometimes I feel that if her parents are so willing to care for her, they should be allowed. Even if it is hopeless and they are hanging onto an elusive dream. That woman's brain cortex isn't functioning. She will never recover and I feel badly that her parents can't accept that.

The media are partly to blame here, especially television. Each night, the TV news shows excerpts of a tape made by Schiavo's parents in which she appears to smile at her mother and look at a balloon. But those are only snippets of the entire four-hour tape.

A Florida judge as well as reporters from the St. Petersburg Times all reviewed the whole videotape.

For most of it, Schiavo does NOT respond. Doctors have testified that her cerebral cortex, which controls the thought process, is destroyed. Her facial movements are merely reflexes.

There is a local connection, since Terri grew up not too far from here and is Catholic like me.

But I was appalled to read today that right wing-nut Bo Gritz and fellow protestors tried to storm the Florida hospice where Schiavo is and force-feed her bread and water.

She is UNABLE to feed herself. She had the feeding tube because she CAN NOT SWALLOW. This has become a circus. And it is truly a shame.

Let the woman die in peace or let her parents care for her. But the politicians and protestors need to STAY OUT OF IT. This isn't a freak show. Go home.

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