"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life."
-- President George W. Bush, March 21st, 2005
If you don't think this is an opening salvo of logic to allow the cultural conservative wing of the GOP political monopoly in Washington, D.C. to begin eroding individual liberties, state's rights, and constitutional protections in order to jumpstart their previously stymied religious social agenda upon America, you're simply not paying attention.
House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay -- who seems to have missed his calling as an Evangelical Preacher -- held a press conference on Sunday about the original, wide-reaching and typically misnamed House bill given to the Senate entitled "The Protection of Incapacited Persons Act of 2005," after subpoenas demanding that Terri Shiavo (et al) appear before a House Reform Committee were wisely rejected as nonsense by the judiciary involved.
Had those original subpoenas been given any legal standing, we'd all be sliding down the slippery slope of political or theocractic ideology. Why? It would set a dangerous legal precedent giving the the legislative branch of government the power to meddle in the private lives of anyone's situation whom the politicians deemed to be politically beneficial to them.
It might not have appliedtoyourownsituation should you live outside the President's brother's state, but what might follow? Excuse me, Ms. American citizen, you can not have an abortion -- for we, the now-powerful selected, have decided that you must carry that baby to term because we have issued a subpoena for your zygote-yet-unnamed to appear before us. Sounds ridiculous? Not when you consider what just happened in the recent actions of the U.S. legislative branch of government.
If Tom Delay's support of House Committees is so faithful, perhaps he should stop throwing his political weight around that blocks his own appearance before the House Ethics Committee. Apparently Tom DeLay's version of ethics is simply selective to his ability to get re-elected. Evangelicals in his district seem to be very selective in his morality -- charges of stealing, lying, and cheating are forgiveable -- but God forbid someone should exercise their right to die with dignity.
That's a scary picture you have there of Mr. Bush.
Anyway, I feel compelled to say this: I already said I don't believe suicide or assisted suicide is right, and I don't. You die when you die, not when you *decide* you're gonna die. And believe me, I know all about wanting to stop living.
BUT there is A LOT doctors can do to make a sick and dying person more comfortable, and a lot that can be done to make it easier on the family members as far as caring for their sick loved one.
Still today, not enough effort is put into making patients as comfortable as possible. We have some mighty powerful drugs, it can be done. I'm not sure why it isn't being done consistantly, but it isn't.
And you know what? Suffering is part of life. Who says that because you're suffering, you get to quit now? It's all part of the deal.
There's a big difference between living through, or dying with a long and painful and difficult illness (which is natural) and being kept alive artificially with minimal quality of life (which is not natural).
J f Z March 21, 2005 08:07 PM PST I think I uderstand what you're saying, CM. If you check one of the five links available in "applied to your own situation" -- there are links to Physician's guidelines of end of life care, a right-to-die glossary, and information on some of the legal parameters that might interest you. I sneak those referencial links in my rants sometimes.
Beyond the specificity of Terri Schiavo and on a solely political topic, our federal legislature acting this way is troubling to me on the basis of their violation of seperation of powers set up by our contstitution. This is an example of absolute power corrupting our government, no matter how seemingly noble the reason for doing it.
The fact that the new judge didn't immediately order the PEG tube reinserted may be a tell that this judge may have to stand on principles of the law, rather than popular right-to-life based political maneuvering.
Sorry. I guess I forgot to add- I hate politics and politicians. Crap, all of it. Of course it's ridiculous. I try to ignore them, they just piss me off and I'm so powerless to do anything about them. Like they give a damn if Terry lives or dies. heh.
J f Z March 22, 2005 03:51 PM PST Unfortunately, we live in a vibrant democracy where participation and not sticking your head in the sand is an important part of protecting our lifestyle and society.
I'm not picking on you personally, CM. You know how fond I am of you. But, it's the politicians who make our laws, rules, and regulations by which we are compelled to live.
A minimum safeguard for the protection of one's own liberty is paying attention to what various elected officials are doing. Unchecked, they get re-elected. Our vote is the ultimate check on megalomaniacs.
The 2006 election for the House of Representatives may actually see a backlash for the deeds people feel were over-reaching, outrageous, or stupid.
I know. But when GW became president even though he had less votes than Al Gore, that pretty much convinced me that the whole vote is a joke.
Yeah, we need people like you to keep an eye out and put the pressure on or God knows what they would do. But I'm just not cut out for it.
I not like politics. This would be why I hardly ever comment on your blog.
J f Z March 22, 2005 05:40 PM PST Well, I really look forward to your comments because I know you to be thoughtful, deliberate and caring person. Given your background, I appreciate your thoughts on this topic especially so.
Akira3099 March 23, 2005 10:56 AM PST "In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life."
Akira3099 March 23, 2005 10:58 AM PST He sure knows how to pick 'em.
I haven't followed this story. The first time I heard about it on CNN news, I flipped the channel (plus CNN sucks the big one).
I've recently been studying geneva research lately as well. I think that if politicians are also hinting that they will be opposing these research programmes in the future that could possibly cure these diseases/disabilities, then there has to be some sort of decision made. This isn't fair.
This reminds me of a situation that happened here not too long ago... This man killed his disabled (cerebral palsy) 12 year old daughter (who was a 40 pound quadriplegic) because she was in so much pain. Only he ended-up getting sentenced life in prison. (What you get with a Conservative-leaning government).
Anyways. He originally had a life sentence in 1993, but they overturned it about 5 years later with 25 and parole after 10. Canada isn't so much ahead of you guys either.
Oh... and I forgot to say (since we're all full of compliments today) that you're such a passionate and dedicated blogger, that I'm thinking about making my own blog... only dedicated to Canadian/World politics.
Well, it mostly has more to do with being criticized by my friends for not blogging about anything interesting. But... You are pretty inspiring, JFZ. I don't know why Helpee hasn't put you on the friggin' Favourites List already!
J f Z March 24, 2005 05:35 PM PST Thanks for the URL and the gratious comments, Wail ;)
I don't think I'd like to be listed on the main page favorites -- the stress to consistently blog something witty would be too much. Heh.
Plus, it would force me to use a spellchecker or grammer check, and sap the fun right out of it for me ...
J f Z March 26, 2005 12:00 AM PST Sare, if you had clicked through the link labelled 'die with dignity,' you may have been treated to the entire PBS Frontline special about Dr. Jack Kervorkian.
If you had foolishly clicked through the link immediately before that one, you would have just gone to Michigan Department of Corrections file for Dr. Jack Kervorkian who is serving time in prison for assisting terminally ill patients in their end of life decision.
The 'right-to-die with dignity' means to use your supposed God-given Free Will. Why is it so hard to believe that this course of action isn't what Terri Shiavo desired? And by not respecting her wishes, you are imposing a far greater tyranny over a person than the judicial tyranny of which most fools are decrying these days.
As sad as Terri's decision might make her loved ones, by not respecting it, they prolonged her suffering for YEARS. Dying at the moment of your own choicing and under what circumstances is the last act of free will a person can make. Taking that away from them, to me, is a sin of high order.
She isn't even suffering... her cerebral cortex was destroyed 15 years ago. As I'm sure you know, because I know you are intelligent J f Z, the cerebral cortex is what is responsible for making a person, a person. Without the cerebral cortex, there is no thought, there is no feeling. As someone I know put it- living without a cerebral cortex is like a computer running without an operating system- you can turn it on but all it does is consume electricity. She is nothing but a shell.
I made a long comment about this on Sare's blog, though I doubt anyone will respond to it. I mean, after all, it isn't emotionally charged.
Terri died 15 years ago. People need to accept that.
As for the politicians, this is absolutely shameful and wrong.
I just wanna say that if you want your opinion taken seriously, refrain from name calling. thank you.
Potencia March 27, 2005 04:09 PM PST death with dignity should be allowed
J f Z March 27, 2005 04:27 PM PST CM: Thank you for your observation on SareBabe's comment.
Potencia: astute and concise. Thank you for that.
J f Z March 27, 2005 04:39 PM PST I have to prod, it's my nature: Before you get all wonky on me or send yet-another-hate-email -- hit [next page] and read that first. It may temper you're opinion, because this is not a happy issue by any means.
Most people have an automatic reactionary comment to make -- and while those are always welcome here -- don't do yourself the disservice of reacting against the unknown. People are doing that from watching their news outlet of choice. FOX et al.
If you want to know from what position I am making my comments, it will require more effort than a playstation glance and drive-by comment.