Maralyn Lois Polak is a Philadelphia-based journalist, screenwriter, essayist, novelist, editor, spoken-word artist, performance poet and occasional radio personality. With architect Benjamin Nia, she has just completed a short documentary film about the threatened demolition of a historic neighborhood, "MY HOMETOWN: Preservation or Development?" on DVD. She is the author of several books including the collection of literary profiles, "The Writer as Celebrity: Intimate Interviews," and her latest volume ofMore ↓Less ↑
Many folks, even some I like and respect, want Terri Schindler Schiavo dead. They say she has suffered enough. They say she deserves “peace.” They say her starvation and dehydration’s “painless.” They say the repeated insertion and removal of her feeding tube is torture. They say her “quality of life” is zero. They ask if I’d like to “live” like that.
Murder? Or “death with dignity”?
Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo’s tragedy is America’s media circus of the moment. What should have been merely a private, personal, family matter – albeit a shattering series of skirmishes between her genuinely caring parents and her so-called “husband and legal guardian” – has become highly politicized, exploding into an ugly public controversy needlessly involving the courts, Congress, Florida’s governor and aspiring White House resident, even our putative president. Unfortunately or not, these attempts at outside intervention have apparently proved futile.
Besides liberals and conservatives at each other’s throats – surprise! – everyone else’s jumping into this sickeningly opportunistic feeding frenzy, too, flogging their own, yes, sorry agendas: right-to-lifers and death-with-dignity groups, euthanasia advocates and living-will proponents, doomsday prophets and self-righteous pundits – you name it.
Remember that phrase “blind justice”? Well, not to be indelicate or un-PC here, but Judge Greer is. Legally blind – for real. Which means while he, like other jurists in this case, has been swayed by various “experts” labeling Terri as being in a “persistent vegetative state” and thus condemning Terri to death, he in particular hasn’t been able to consider the compelling visual evidence of her conscious awareness, which could ensure her survival.
You could say poor Terri Schindler Schiavo’s our contemporary version of Tantalus. In Greek mythology, he’s the king who, for his crimes, gets condemned in Hades to stand in water that recedes when he tries to drink it, and with fruit hanging above him that recedes when he reaches for it.
“Sounds a lot like what’s happening to Terri Schiavo, doesn’t it?” Chicago illustrator MKG e-mails, adding:
I’ve been following this story from the radio. For years her husband would pull her out of facilities and have her moved all the time and caused health care to be withheld from her. I have heard doctors interviewed on “Coast to Coast” and on WLS talk programs, and the consensus is this woman could possibly have been rehabilitated in the past, but it was blocked by her husband. He’s been heard and quoted as saying “When is that b—- going to die?” and the court system’s deliberately dragging its feet and won’t make a decision because Terri’s running out of time. I believe she will be dying now. This is DISGUSTING abuse of a human. Mass murderers are treated better. And our court system’s allowing this to happen. Terri’s husband found a way to kill her legally.
A chilling thought.
It seems apparent to MKG “the Supreme Court wants Terri to die:
There must be an agenda there because those who want her to die are so intent on it. The physicians haven’t even induced a drug-induced coma in this woman so she wouldn’t have to be aware when she is slowly being starved. This is inhuman. This paves the way for the government determining how people will die – in spite of a living will – all based on hearsay. It’s going to open Pandora’s Box …
“Kind of interesting and perhaps astute,” MKG continues, “I heard Rush Limbaugh (don’t gag) … and he was remarking how the court system is setting up a precedent. Just watch, down the road we will see legislation pull to legalize euthanasia for humans, and this is paving the way. He finds this just as appalling as we do …
“This is such a disturbing event,” MKG muses. “I think people need to learn from this experience, which is why I believe Terri’s a ‘sacrificed life’ to help raise the consciousness of people. So sad.”
So, once more, we have two Americas, split into red and blue, and we all lose. We must all pull together, in Terri’s name, and never let such an atrocity happen again.