I often wonder why people succumb so easily to the drive to preserve life. Even in cases when the life isn’t their own to save. By now just about everyone not in a coma has read or heard about the fight being waged by Terri Schiavo’s parents to keep what is left of their daughter alive. I won’t get into the fact that Terri has the mental capacity of a bowl of pudding, nor will I bore you with the legal wranglings that have tied up the courts for years. I could point the irony that a man who is responsible for killing more civilians that Osama bin Laden since the 9/11 terrorist attacks is trying to save the life of one who wouldn”t even vote for him if she had the chance. Or I could condemn the self-serving interests of the fanatical Christians who believe they know what Terri wants. But I won’t.
I will bore you with my thoughts on the right to die issue though.
Before Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990, she was pretty. While many of the right-to-life zealots argue that she would want to live, they fail to recognize that medical experts believed her heart stopped briefly from a chemical imbalance brought on by an eating disorder. So poisoned was her self-perception that when she looked in the mirror, the face and body that stared back wasn’t attractive to her. I wonder what Terri would say if she did awaken and saw how her vanity ravaged her face and body over the last 15 years. No one knows, but I can imagine she’d look in the mirror, then look at her parents and tell them to mind their own fucking business.
Everyone has a right to live free. So important is this right that it is part of the bedrock that built this nation. But what of our right to die? Without a living will, Terri’s fate is left to people who have their own motivations, their own hopes, and fears. It is unfortunate that Terri’s parents are so passionately connected to their daughter that they refuse to let her go. Just one more example of how passion without understanding is a dangerous thing.