Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri Schiavo - Understanding the Other Side

Much criticism from some quarters over this Peggy Noonan article.

I honestly think some of the outrage is artificially ginned up by people smart enough to grasp the point more accurately than they have. Nevertheless, I will agree it hardly made much of an effort to understand the perspective of the other side. And as the Terri Schiavo case seems to be coming to an end - a very bad end in my opinion - it's important we don't see those who disagree as members of an enemy camp, but rather as fellow citizens with whom we disagreed: people whom we ought to work to persuade to what we consider a better moral view of this kind of situation in the future.

The best attempt at such understanding I've seen so far comes from "anniebird" in the comments section of this post by The Anchoress:

... I think we need to remember that our brothers and sisters who believe Terri should die may view this as an act of compassion. They imagine a soul trapped within a body that refuses to allow it to express itself. They think that surely, after 15 years, every treatment avenue has been pursued, that she has regained all she can of her function, and that what is left is not a life she would want. They remember "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and ask themselves if they would want such a life. Their certain answer is No.

They are not troubled by the lack of inconclusive evidence that these were not Terri's wishes because they don't believe her husband has any ulterior motive. They think Michael is doing a difficult and honorable thing and that any suggestion that he is inappropriately invested in her death is not supported by evidence - there has been no definite proof of abuse. They are concerned about parents who love Terri so much that they might be keeping her alive for themselves, rather than for Terri's good.

They are troubled by the thought of starving someone to death, but soothed by the firm conviction of doctors who assure that this is painless. The traces of doubt are swept away by confirmation that Terri is brain dead - her "liquified cortex" prevents her from feeling pain - insurance that even if starvation is painful, this woman will not feel it.

Forgive the length of this post, friends. I wrote it because I want to point out to you that while I agree that we are witnessing the birth of a most evil culture of death, we must resist the urge to vilify our fellow citizens. To do this is to shut down conversation, and if we can't talk to each other, we can't be part of the Holy Spirit's work among us. Let us help with the softening of souls and the turning of hearts...a great battle awaits.

A healthier perspective on the matter than Peggy Noonan's, I believe.

3 Comments:

Blogger RLG said...

“…It's important we don't see those who disagree as members of an enemy camp, but rather as fellow citizens with whom we disagreed: people whom we ought to work to persuade to what we consider a better moral view of this kind of situation in the future.”

Doug,

Good advice. I’ve been following this case for a number of days now and it’s obvious that several categories of people are present, as you carefully pointed out in your post, “Perfect Storm.”

It’s helpful and necessary to realize the effects of the propaganda and deliberate confusion that is present in the public where Terri Schiavo’s case is concerned. We can’t at this point fully appreciate what is happening or its consequences. But the truth will come out eventually, and it’s important not to have vilified the opposition in the meantime.

Thanks for the thoughtful posts on this troubling event that challenges us to understand and remain patient toward those for, whatever reason, fail to grasp its meaning or significance. The real meaning of “life and death” decisions is being impressed upon us all. I hope we learn the lessons we need to learn and benefit from the suffering and disgrace this country is being made to experience.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for picking up my post, Doug! I'm flattered and hope our efforts will lead to more reasoned dialogue as we try to discern the lesson in all of this.

Be well,

anniebird

1:20 AM  
Blogger Honnistaibe said...

It's too bad that the media coverage of this issue has focused on polarizing figures such as Kevorkian's attorney on one side and Randall Terry representing the other who was coddled as a juvenile delinquent and who has never renounced the murdering that he inspired of clinic physicians.
Our Court system now has us sliding down a perilous slope fulfilling many of the goals of the Third Reich and Americans are too stupid to realize it because they wrongly believe National SOCIALISTS were conservative.

3:40 PM  

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