Wednesday, March 30, 2005


The Schiavo Case – A Wake-up Call

There has been so much written and spoken about this case. It seems there is nothing left to say, or anything you might want to read. My thoughts now seem to be going beyond the specifics of who is to blame – there is plenty to go around. All the arguments about legal issues surrounding Terri’s condition and right to die, sterile ethics, political hand-wringing and judicial agendas seem rather moot at this point. This is not only about Terri Schiavo.

Just what is this really about?

I asked myself this question one recent morning during my quiet time. “Look in the mirror!” was what came back. “It is about you – all of you. You have the world of your collective choice. If you want to change it, you have to change the way you think and act.”

Terri Schiavo, her family, the judges, doctors, lawyers and politicians are all players in a drama reflecting back to us our own society and its values. This is what is meant by reaping what one sows. They are showing us where we are and what we have made of ourselves and our society.

Should we expect anything different?

Can we blame the doctors, judges or anyone else? They are only playing the roles we have allowed them to set up and play. Our years of non-involvement, of sitting back and allowing our medical and legal systems to run amok have brought us to this time a - time for serious reflection. The chickens have come home to roost. We have been coddled, and lulled into a trance by a system that manages our lives from birth to death. It is time to wake up!

We allow judges to tell us what we can believe, say and do. We elect weak-kneed politicians who serve only themselves and refuse to take a stand because they might offend their constituency. We give over to doctors the responsibility for our own health and well-being. We give veto power to insurance companies, drug companies and lawyers to drain our lifeblood. We have given up control of our very existence and possibly our right to live. We must take back our lives, our communities and our society. It is time to wake up!

Where is the outrage! What is happening to Terri is a travesty for all of us. Why do we passively allow a helpless, semi-conscious person to be forced to die of dehydration? Can this be justified in the name of “right-to-die”, “family rights” or “medical opinion”?
We must work to change a system that so blatantly distorts with such platitudes what is so obviously wrong.

Where is our compassion? Something is dreadfully wrong in our society if we can sit back and let this happen without much more than a whimper of protest. Praise those few who keep a vigil outside the “care” facility where Terri is kept. Honor the man who with his two children decided to make a long trip to this place so they could do something to help. All were promptly arrested and hand cuffed when they wanted to go inside to give Terri a drink of water. It is time to wake up!

Where is our respect for the holiness of life? A cheapening of life has been under way for a long time in our society, and we have let it happen. It feels as though we are in the grip of a death cult. The legal sanctioning of the killing of babies and helpless adults is supported by doctors that willingly carry out or otherwise make possible death by decree. It is time to wake up!

These activities cannot stand. We must take a long, hard, sobering look in the mirror. We must ask ourselves the tough questions and listen to the answers. As we are witnessing, if we continue to be weak and mute, there will be a heavy price to pay. Terri and others like her are now paying for our long negligence and silence. It brings to mind the quote by Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

"We have met the enemy and it is us." Walt Kelly

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