Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Let's get all serious for a minute
I'm going to say a few things about the Terri Schiavo case. I'm fairly hesitant to do this, because this is a frivolous entertainment blog, and I am not at all politically inclined, nor am I the sort of person to get all self-righteous about her own opinions and ethics.

But Eli blogged about this, and I was foolish enough to comment, and he and I had a weird discussion about it, and I feel the need to clarify some things.

This is the kind of social issue that polarizes people. Like the abortion debate, or gun control, or whether eating meat is ethical... there are strong opinions on both sides, and neither side is likely to ever win the other over. I try to avoid these kinds of arguments, because they're ultimately pointless. We believe as we do, and we are unswayable.

With that in mind, I just want to point out some general things.

1. The media is, as a general rule, biased. Reporters have agendas. They give you the facts that they want you to see. They quote things in the context that they want you to see them in. Anyone who forms an opinion of this case based solely on what they read in the media is perhaps a bit naive. In the interest of fairness, I present this link to a website run by Terri's family. I realize that these people also have an agenda, and that this is as much propaganda as what we see in the media. But, it's another side of things. And the wise person looks at both sides before drawing conclusions.

2. Doctors are not always right. We've made some huge leaps forward with medicine. We know a lot about illness and the body and the way things work. But, we're wrong a lot of the time as well. Yes, some neurologists have determined that Terri Schiavo is in a vegetative state. But some other neurologists have determined that she is not. Which ones do we believe? Should we perhaps admit that there's a lot that we simply don't know about the human brain and how it works?

3. I was in a coma once. It was brief, 16 or so hours, but there I was. And friends, I was aware of every minute. Just saying.

4. How do we define life? Where does life begin and end? Is it a matter of brain or a matter of body? Terri Schiavo breathes on her own. Her heart beats without assistance. Is she alive? Or is she dead, because she lacks the brain functions that you and I have? I know how I answer that question, but your own answer is up to you.

5. Here's something else Terri Schiavo can do: she can swallow. Based on everything I've read today, doctors have never questioned her ability to swallow. Another interesting tidbit: Michael Schiavo doesn't just want her feeding tube removed, he wants to prevent her being fed at all. Just saying.

6. Starving to death is a horrible way to go.

7. Losing someone you love is never easy.

8. Terri Schiavo is a person, not a cause.

9. A living will is a wise thing to do.

Just some things to think about. I'm not going to try and tell anyone how to feel about this. I'm not even going to really speak much about how I feel about it. I just think that more things should be taken into consideration here than many people maybe are thinking about. As I said, it all comes down to how you define life, where you draw that line. And once that line is drawn, how much do you value what's on either side of it? We're all humans. All of us on the same ride that's going to end in death sooner or later. Personally, I don't think I have the right to decide for anyone else when it's time to die. I don't think any of us does.