on the Err of Life regarding Terri Schiavo, Living Wills, Adjudication, Legislation and
Administration; George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, the Schindlers, and Tom Delay.
The raging controversy over the status of Terri Schiavo is a battle between sides blind and deaf to
each other's arguments. It's not "evil" for parents to struggle to save what they
believe to be the potentially salvageable life of a daughter. It may be understandable, but
it's nevertheless wrong, for such parents to unjustifiably attempt to characterize as
"evil" all those who seek to respect an individual's wishes to not be perpetuated in a
medically hopeless condition. It's doubtful that Mark Schiavo is a saint, but the records in
these matters seem replete with examples of gross exaggerations, distortions and misrepresentations
against him. Schiavo's parents (the Schindlers) and their ardent supporters seek legislation
to create a potentially multi-year culture-of-life litigation barrier (comparable to the procedures
for death penalty litigation) against implementation of clear and convincing evidence of an
incapacitated person's desire to not have his/her existence perpetuated without any realistic
prospect of ever regaining any meaningful cognitive capacity.
One can respect the "err on the side of life" rationale of George W. Bush, Jeb Bush and
federal and Florida legislators. It's hardly "immoral" or "evil" to take a
position sincerely perceived as serving to preserve a potential for recovery. Their "err
on the side of life" rationale is certainly no less moral than than the endless efforts
of death-penalty opponents. However, one cannot respect positions such as those expressed by
Tom Delay branding as "evil" (or as participants in "murder") the people seeking
to implement what a court found by clear and convincing evidence to have been the wishes of Terri
Schiavo any more than one can respect the shrill claims of many death-penalty opponents caricaturing
those seeking to implement the penalty as "evil" or as participants in "murder"
by the state.
However, although not "immoral" or "evil," such efforts in this matter are
seriously misguided and represent extraordinarily bad judgment. Most of the arguments advanced
by supporters of the Schindlers are really arguments against the very concept of respecting a
"living will." Is it "possible" the physicians have
"misdiagnosed" Schiavo's condition? One certainly can't say that it's
"impossible," but if that were to be the test, then it would negate the very concept of a
"living will" because it would enable anyone desiring to challenge an incapacitated
person's "living will" intentions by finding at least one physician to disagree with the
rest, all of whom would be unable to prove it to be "impossible" for their diagnosis to be
The very concept of a "living will" represents a person's desire to forego the
remote possibility of recovery in favor of the certainty of avoiding being perpetuated in a
medically hopeless state without any realistic chance of ever recovering any meaningful
cognitive capacity. In my opinion, it's inhumane for those who disagree with the concept of a
"living will" to demand that those who have expressed such wishes be instead forced to
endure the very form of existence they desired to avoid. Therefore, I "side on the err of
life"-- i.e., I'm willing to respect an individual's decision to err in a different way
by trading the remote, theoretical possibility of recovery for the certainty of avoiding prolonged
Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.
23, 2005 #01 Daily Update at PoliSat.Com,
where satire is always
commentary, but commentary
isn't always satire.
Siding on the Err of Life.
link to this Daily Update: http://polisat.com/du2005/du0503-21--31.htm#20050323-00.
30-day news-link: http://polisat.com/DailyPoliticalSatire-Commentary/du20y05m03d23-00.htm
no animation or cartoon for this installment.
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