Butt out of Schiavo case, Republicans

Michael McLaughlin

Trying to navigate the various complexities of the tragic case of Terri Schiavo is akin to steering between Scylla and Charybdis. No matter which direction one leans, someone is going to be pissed off. Or in my case, I’ll probably manage to just annoy everyone.

If Mrs. Schiavo’s parents are willing to take care of their daughter, they should be allowed to do so. Maybe it’s just the Catholic in me, but the idea of a person slowly dying of dehydration and malnutrition in such a manner strikes me as wrong.

Of course, Mr. Schiavo has said his wife would not want to be kept alive this way, and I believe he’s speaking truthfully. However, it’s much easier to say such things when one believes that death is far off in the future than when one is facing the abyss of the next world. Also, because no living will exists regarding her wishes on this sort of matter, we’ll probably never really know what she would want in this situation.

That having been said, the judges have made their decisions and Terri will soon pass from this world, if she has not already by the time this article makes it to print. And we need to remember that both her parents and her husband are victims torn apart over how to deal with the injuries of their daughter/his wife.

This is what makes the actions of those in control of the government, both in Florida and on the national level, all the more sickening. (Come on, you knew that I’d have to start with the anti-Republican commentary eventually.) Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (in an attempt to protect his right flank in 2008 GOP presidential primaries) and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (in an attempt to distract from his ever-burgeoning ethics scandals) rushed through a bill late night last Sunday, which was basically an illegal bill of attainder against Mr. Schiavo.

While this law was quickly ruled unconstitutional, the damage had been done to the vaunted “Republican” values of federalism and the rule of law as these were all cast aside as part of a naked political sop to the religious right. The president is so beholden to this group that he actually cut short a vacation in Crawford to sign the bill, something he refused to do even when the cataclysmic tsunami hit Southeast Asia.

Not to be outdone, according to a report from the Miami Herald, Gov. Jeb Bush planned on sending a team of state policemen to attempt to take Mrs. Schiavo into state custody but called off the move after being rebuffed by the local law enforcement who were dedicated to actually, you know, enforcing the law.

At least for once, such a naked grab for even more political power appears to be backfiring as the president’s approval rating has fallen to 45 percent (according to Gallup), and 70 percent disapprove of the government’s attempt to intervene (according to an ABC News poll).

Mrs. Schiavo deserves to rest in peace both in this world and in the next. It should not be up to Mr. DeLay and Mr. Frist to attempt to determine the date she passes from one to the other.

Mike McLaughlin is a senior history major, secretary of the College Democrats and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact him at [email protected].