Thought for Today

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.
--Joseph Stalin

Terri Schiavo

The grave conveys the ultimate privacy. All people of sensitivity must hope that Mrs. Schiavo's death will give her family some measure of peace. And, for all our sakes,we can only hope that her death will draw the curtain over the circus that Republican politicians and right-to-life extremists have convened in her name.

No such luck,I fear. My friend Gretchen sent me an e-mail this morning that explains why:

We in this country don't know how to die. (Now the pope's on a feeding tube...whatever happened to "Natural Law"?) We're supposed to die when the body fails, as humankind has died for millions of years. Is not the American way of death radically against natural law?

Everything these days is inflated. We have the very public dyings, dying as public spectacle, a last bit of attention-getting. We can't get enough suffering -- as long as it's someone else's. Then we can feel secure, if only for a moment. And why? We can't face death, our own death, the death of all of us. We're controlled by our fears, a fact that the administration and the religious right knows well. They play the American public like a tuba: blat! blat! blat!
And yet, as I brace myself for a weekend-long media orgy, I see a few blessings.

One is unverifiable: that Terri Schiavo, dead-in-all-but-name for 15 years, has finally had her soul liberated. Whatever's next for her spirit cannot be worse.

Two is that everyone now knows that you can easily become the plaything of the State if you do not have a living will.

Three is that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals not only delivered the final ruling in this case but put the matter in the bluntest possible language. Here is Judge Stanley Birch, appointed in 1990 by George H. Bush:

A popular epithet directed by some members of society, including some members of Congress, toward the judiciary involves the denunciation of "activist judges." Generally, the definition of an "activist judge" is one who decides the outcome of a controversy before him according to personal conviction, even one sincerely held, as opposed to the dictates of the law as constrained by legal precedent and, ultimately, our Constitution. In resolving the Schiavo controversy it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people -- our Constitution. Since I have sworn, as have they, to uphold and defend that Covenant, I must respectfully concur in the denial of the request for rehearing en banc."
"The legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people -- our Constitution." Never thought you'd see a conservative Republican judge say that, did you?

Fourth: the dialogue that blogger Charles Lehardy and I had over the last few days. In a time of polarization, we had a real exchange. I'm heartened--well, a bit. Read on....

Terri Schiavo: Facts and Opinions

A few days ago, Loose Canon did the thing that drives me nuts on a regular basis. Instead of quoting a news source or expressing an opinion of her own, she adopted some thoughts about Terri Schiavo from a blog that had quoted, in turn, another blog. The item in question:

Relapsed Catholic, a good source of information and perspectives on Terri Schiavo, spotted this alarming thought from Another Think, a Christian blog: