I've shied from posting about the coming death of Ms. Schindler. Let me just say that I prefer to think of her as "Ms. Schindler" since to credit that she is still the wife of the odious Mr. Schiavo is repugnant. His eagerness to kill her is unseemly to say the least and suspicious to say the most. But that's not the point of this.
Much has been made of the politics surrounding the Congressional intervention in the case. Speaking as a libertarian Republican, I don't really like the intrusion of the massive apparatus of government into the case of a single person. But speaking as a human being, I appreciate that efforts are being made to spare a human life. I am horrified at the removal of the feeding tube and hydration. I don't find it credible that starving and dehydrating to death is the 'pleasant' and 'euphoric' experience some are claiming it to be. If it's such an easy death, then I propose we adopt starvation and water deprivation for death row inmates. Wouldn't want them to suffer after all, would we?
Let us be honest about one thing: what has been done to Ms. Schindler is as certain a death sentence as any passed in any capital case ever tried. Since she is condemned to death, I think humanity demands that we make it as easy on her as possible. Why not, then, just give her a lethal injection? There is no appreciable difference between that and what the courts have done. Actually, since the death sentence seems now to be a fait accompli, at least she should be given some pain relief. I hope.
All that being said, the great Peggy Noonan asks:
I do not understand the emotionalism of the pull-the-tube people. What is driving their engagement? Is it because they are compassionate, and their hearts bleed at the thought that Mrs. Schiavo suffers? But throughout this case no one has testified that she is in persistent pain, as those with terminal cancer are.I propose that there is an answer to this and it lies in the politics, not the love of death. Let me posit, since the Republicans, President Bush and the "religious right" have all been taken to task for their "interference," that those who seem to be seeking Ms. Schindler's death are of the left. And by this, I don't mean to say that if you're a Democrat or any other stripe of leftist that you are seeking her death. I am merely generalizing that the "right" seeks to continue her earthly existence and the "left" seeks to end her earthly existence. Which begs the question Ms. Noonan asks: Why?
If they care so much about her pain, why are they unconcerned at the suffering caused her by the denial of food and water? And why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavo's death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee calls Republicans "brain dead." Michael Schiavo, the husband, calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "a slithering snake."
Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.
Why are they so committed to this woman's death?
They seem to have fallen half in love with death.
What does Terri Schiavo's life symbolize to them? What does the idea that she might continue to live suggest to them?
Why does this prospect so unnerve them? Again, if you think Terri Schiavo is a precious human gift of God, your passion is explicable. The passion of the pull-the-tube people is not.
The simple answer is that the left is not really seeking to end Terri's life. It is, however, so utterly invested in the power of the courts over the legislature or executive branch that they must go to the utmost to support the decsions of a court, any court in the face of the legislature proving that the judiciary is not above Congressional review. And in those politics lies the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo.