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Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Strangest of Bedfellows

Two days ago the Reverend Jesse Jackson visited the parents of Terri Schiavo, prayed with them, and lobbied the Florida State Senate's Black Caucus to help save Terri's life.

Until that time, the mainstream media had done an overwhelmingly good job at painting this struggle along the lines of traditional politics:

Evil Conservative Christians versus Glorious ACLU (and Liberal Establishment)

At the beginning of this now final two-week-long battle over Terri's life, Republican politicians were portrayed as skulking in to do the bidding of these sanctimonious "Right-to-lifers."

Lo-and-behold, however, along comes the ACLU to take up the cause for the defenseless Michael Schiavo and his poor, poor wife Terri -- who was being forced to live!!

"Why, they can't do that! The evil bastards! Always trying to take away our freedoms . . ."

News reports ended with, "Terri has been in a persistent vegitative state for a decade now, doctors believe she is completely nonresponsive and has absolutely no hope of improving."

Polls were taken asking nearly this identical question: "Terri Schiavo has been in a persistent vegitative state for 14 years now with no signs of improving. Before having her accident she told her husband she would not want to be kept alive in this manner. Should Terri's wishes be carried out?"

And the results were dutifully reported: "87% of Americans believe Terri should be allowed to die and the U.S. Congress has overstepped its bounds in becoming involved in the manner."

Person-by-Person I have attempted to relay the entire truth about Terri's struggle: about how she was abused and neglected; about how there is very little evidence that Terri would have wanted this fate and it conflicts with evidence that she would have wanted to live; about how Terri is responsive and is not in a persistent vegitative state; and about the questionable motives of Michael Schiavo.

Person-by-Person, perhaps it has changed a few hearts on the matter . . . but it could never save her life. If only more people had been aware earlier . . .

I have an immense amount of respect for Jesse Jackson's involvement as of late. If anything, it makes one question why a figure as polarizing as Jackson would step in to aid what the media has been portraying as Jackson's political enemy.

Today I find the Village Voice Newsletter, a well-known liberal publication, is speaking up.

With an article published on-line, they are quietly joining Jesse Jackson, Conservative Christians, and the Republican Congress . . .

in opposing Michael Schiavo and the involvement of the ACLU.

The article, written by Nat Hentoff, includes the following passage:

For all the world to see, a 41-year-old woman, who has committed no crime, will die of dehydration and starvation in the longest public execution in American history. . .

While lawyers and judges have engaged in a minuet of death, the American Civil Liberties Union, which would be passionately criticizing state court decisions and demanding due process if Terri were a convict on death row, has shamefully served as co-counsel for her husband, Michael Schiavo, in his insistent desire to have her die.

Months ago, in discussing this case with ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, and later reading ACLU statements, I saw no sign that this bastion of the Bill of Rights has ever examined the facts concerning the egregious conflicts of interest of her husband and guardian Michael Schiavo, who has been living with another woman for years, with whom he has two children, and has violated a long list of his legal responsibilities as her guardian, some of them directly preventing her chances for improvement. Judge Greer has ignored all of them.

In February, Florida's Department of Children and Families presented Judge Greer with a 34-page document listing charges of neglect, abuse, and exploitation of Terri by her husband, with a request for 60 days to fully investigate the charges. Judge Greer, soon to remove Terri's feeding tube for the third time, rejected the 60-day extension. (The media have ignored these charges, and much of what follows in this article.)

Michael Schiavo, who says he loves and continues to be devoted to Terri, has provided no therapy or rehabilitation for his wife (the legal one) since 1993. He did have her tested for a time, but stopped all testing in 1993. He insists she once told him she didn't want to survive by artificial means, but he didn't mention her alleged wishes for years after her brain damage, while saying he would care for her for the rest of his life. . .

Thank you, Village Voice --

For not playing politics, for acknowledging the truth, and for respecting Life.

The rest of this excellent article can be found at the following link:,hentoff,62489,6.html

And for those who think I am just a Conservative Christian Kook, well, you may be right -- but you could still benefit from reading this article in its entirety.


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