Friday, March 25, 2005

Some Good Friday Reflections

Today marks one week since the feeding tube was removed. Activists for the reinsertion of the tube need to understand that by now, it would not be in Terri's best interests to reinsert it. By now, her renal functioning is most likely severely compromised to the point that normalization is not realistic. Electrolytes are severely imbalanced and the kidneys themselves are probably so severely damaged, she would need dialysis to have any chance to live. In addition, the cells in her tissues throughout her body have been depleted of water and have most likely suffered major damage, resulting in multiple system failure.

As I reflect on the events of this past week, I have watched this case divide the nation over one hot-button issue. I have previously posted my concerns about this case, so to rehash them now would be most redundant. But one irony still stands out and is worthy of rementioning; many people that have advocated the removal of the tube as humane and compassionate are some of the same people that are appalled at the death penalty for those convicted of heinous murders.

It is most difficult for me to understand how these people can say they believe that state sponsored death is wrong and yet be comfortable with the court ordered starvation of someone that was not convicted of anything. It is equally difficult to understand how those that are against the tube remaining out are some of the same people that are for the death penalty. In my mind, you either value life or you don't. Killing is wrong, no matter who we are killing. Executions are for the families of the victims and in most cases are nothing more than legal revenge killings. They do not benefit anyone, except the family. Society is already protected by the incarceration of the murderer and the execution does not bring any of the victims back. So saying that justice is served when someone is legally put to death, is not an accurate statement.

As Americans, it would be wise to examine reexamine our attitudes and value systems in this area. If we truly believe that we should be promoting a culture of life, we should ask ourselves why so many are taking hypocritical stances on this. Life is life. And if it is the Almighty's to give and take, why do so many of us contradict ourselves in these instances?

I am not Catholic and do not agree with much of the theological doctrines of the Vatican. But I give the Vatican hierarchy some credit, in that, they have remained consistent on the death penalty, abortion, and the Terri Schiavo case (they have been steadfast advocates for life in all of these issues).

But for now, we wait. We not only wait for Terri's imminent death, but we now must wait for the backlash and fallout. For every action, there is a reaction. And, behind every action and reaction are motives. Some are pure and some are not so pure.

In the period just prior to Mussolini's rise to power, socialism was beginning to rise in popularity in Italy. The forces that opposed socialism organized themselves well enough to gain power and implement what we now call fascism. Fascism was a reaction to socialism. And as it turned out, it became the driving force that plunged Europe and the world into another bloody war. The reaction was far worse than the original action, by far, in this case.

Today, I see the potential backlash in the Terri Schiavo case as cause for concern. We could see more liberals lose more power in the coming elections, giving the right more power and more free reign to implement their narrow agenda. As a centrist, this concerns me. I am for the balance of power. And although I lean just right of center most of the time, I am concerned when either party has no checks and balances. I become concerned because, no matter who is in power, power can and will be abused at some point in time, if there is no accountability.

It is my belief that the political pendulum will swing back hard in this instance. Perceiving that the leftist minority has sought to impose their narrow views on them, the right wing will strengthen and become more mobilized than ever before. More Democratic seats will be lost in Congress, in 2006. And it just might be that the Democrats will not regain the White House, for a long time. If there is no voice of reason that arises soon, if there is no one that can unite the nation under the banner of compromise and reason, the end result will be more extremism on both sides which will only result in less tolerance for those of us in the middle.

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