Jonathan Witt of Wittingshire has posted this harrowing description of dying of thirst. Jonathan says it was inspired by mainstream media attempts (see the Los Angeles Times and USA Today) to ease the public’s conscience and to stifle the intuition that something barbaric and inhumane is being done to Terri Schiavo while we watch and do nothing to stop it.
It appears a merciless state and federal judiciary are intent on Ms. Schiavo’s death and only a career-sacrificing and constitutional crisis-inducing move by Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush to order some department of his state to take her into custody and give her food and water will save her now. There are not many Thomas Mores or Joan of Arcs in history and one can see why. It’s sad that it has come down to Governor Bush’s “life” or Terri’s life, for he would certainly be cited by Judge Greer for disobeying “the law” and probably impeached (not to mention what the media would do to him), but doing the good sometimes requires ludicrous acts of self-negation.
Growing up in the shadow of post-World War II America, and many remembrances of the Holocaust, I’ve often wondered what it must have been like in Nazi Germany for the nation to standby while evil was done in the name of kindness or eugenic ideology. Now we all know how it can happen, what it feels like, and how helpless good people can be in the face of intentional evil.
The family that was arrested yesterday in front of the Pinellis Park hospice trying to bring glasses of water to Ms. Schiavo (one of the family’s three children is pictured at right being led to a squad car in handcuffs!) gives some of us a kind of cold comfort by the opportunity their courage provides us to claim solidarity with their act. I do.
As Schiavo approaches death—on Good Friday? on Holy Saturday? on Easter?—the media have already begun to look back on the extraordinary efforts to save her life by Congress, by President and Governor Bush, by the Florida legislature, and to label them the acts of extremists, of politicians cornered by radical “religious right” conservatives who would block individual freedom (in this case Ms. Schiavo’s purported wish to die) and ignore scientific experts in the name of religion.
God help us as the many precedents set by this horrific case work their dark logic on our public life.