Monday, March 21

JUDGING MICHAEL SCHIAVO

I found myself in tears this morning driving in to work, listening to right-wing radio excoriate Michael Schiavo and his "tramp" partner (direct quote, Darrell Ankarlo), the woman he has lived with for the past ten years and with whom he has two children.

I suppose it has never occurred to these hateful, judgmental people that Schiavo's partner might be a woman of great love and understanding, standing by her man for a decade without the benefit of marriage so that he may continue to fight for the rights of the love of his youth, his wife Terri.

These kinds of tragedies tear families apart, but the decisions should reside within the families -- outsiders have no right, nor invitation in most cases, to interfere or to judge. One of my dearest friends was scorned by her mother several years ago for not agreeing to keep her sister on life support for over a year. The sister had been a nurse and had repeatedly, and forcefully, expressed her opposition to having her life preserved by artificial means. The mother, in her grief and distress, overrode those wishes and was furious not to receive the support of her other daughter. After a year the mother came to her senses, bowed to the inevitable, and her daughter was at last allowed to die with dignity. The emotional anguish my friend suffered during that year of estrangement from her mother cannot be described, but it was made all the more painful by the scorn of friends and neighbors who implied that she was just eager to get rid of her sister so she wouldn't have to partake in her care, among other cruel judgments.

I have witnessed twice in my immediate family such a choice being faced, first in the case of my father and then in the case of my older sister, also a nurse. My mother bore the burden of the choice. In each case, she would have been more than happy to have cared for either of her loved ones for the rest of her (or their) lives, no matter the sacrifice. She wouldn't have just visited them in hospice, she would have wanted them home under her own care, and she would have killed herself in the doing. But her love was great enough not to even consider her desires or the judgements of other people -- it would never have occurred to her to think of anything but fulfilling their own wishes. No, they didn't leave living wills. But she knew, just as anyone who had been intimate with them knew, what they would want.

To characterize Michael Schiavo as a monster is characteristic of the wingnuts who think they must demonize one side of an argument in order to win it. Darrell Ankarlo this morning actually said, "You KNOW he did it!" implying that Schiavo actually was responsible for his wife's condition. This case has been reviewed, and re-reviewed, by 19 judges in the state of Florida, and there has never been a single one of them who showed an ounce of suspicion of his motives.

This is a private affair, a personal tragedy that is being exploited in the most calculating, cynical manner by Republican politicians, right-to-life fanatics and conservative media. It's like the Dean Scream, with the MSM showing the same short tape of Terri in hospice over and over for year after year, leading uninformed people to believe she actually has some cognition that might be improved when every doctor who has examined her has said she has virtually no cerebral cortex, no brain function.

I know that if something similar were to happen to me I would want my beloved Sage to go on with his life, even marry and enjoy a family. It wouldn't mean he no longer cared for me. And if he fought for my right to die, while living with another, it wouldn't mean either he or the lady was trying to "rid" themselves of me. I'd view it as his last great gift of love.

4 Comments:

Blogger Xpatriated Texan said...

Great post. As far as I know, no one else has spoken up for "the other woman", who is also a human being with some stake in this case.

Thanks for think link, too. Consider it reciprocated.

XT

11:29 AM  
Blogger ChesapeakeBlue said...

You should stop listening to that junk. It will take 10 years off of your life!

10:25 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

PC: You're right, you're right, I know you're right (sorry, I watched "When Harry Met Sally" last night). It all started when the Dixie Chicks got banned from every Dallas radio station; I quit listening to music stations in protest. Then by default (there's no progressive radio in Dallas/Ft. Worth) I got hooked on wingnut radio. It's definitely taking a toll on my mental health, making me angry before I get to work and angry on the way home. It's a habit I've just got to break.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Shiavo deserves to be judged big time!!
He's no better than Hitler was!

11:28 AM  

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