Teri, Meet ElianCNN ran a story yesterday about the similarities between the Terri Schiavo and Elian Gonzales cases. I should've sued them for unauthorized reading of my mind. Heck, I might even get the president to kick it up to federal court for me.
Just when I thought the Michael Jackson case was the Ringling Bros. of media circii (and the reason why it doesn't appear in my 10pm newscast as long as I can help it, God save me) along comes this unqualified sob-and-shout fest that does everything to stroke conservative power trips and darn little to respect individual rights. Teri Schiavo has become the new Elian Gonzales -- an innocent pawn being pulled between two very loud, very powerful, very annoying forces like those old tug-of-war games between me and my aunt's dog. At least Elian knew somebody loved him. With Terri, I'm not so sure where the love is.
The histrionics in the Schiavo case are off the charts. People have gotten arrested outside the hospice for trying to deliver water to her. It reminds me of a similar case I saw on TV back in Missouri in the 1980's, where a group protesting outside a hospital threatened to force-feed a right-to-die patient. With what? Twinkies?
Only in America can you get a lawsuit kicked out of three courts and still stay in the game. Granted, Terri's parents got help from President Bush and Congress when they crashed a bill over the weekend to let the folks move into the federal system. As The Daily Show acutely observed, the Prez acted faster to aid Schiavo's folks than the Southeast Asia tsunami victims. Morality talks, bullshit floats.
The polls on this aren't even close. More than two-thirds of Americans think Congress meddled in a private matter. But polls, schmolls. This is all about sucking up to right-wingers, who you would think don't need any futher sacrifices at the altar. Some Republican lawmakers like Christopher Shays can see the legislative logic doesn't square with conservative principles of limited government intervention. If only these people had spoken up before the House passed an awful TV indecency bill that threatens to criminalize a news live shot gone bad.
Doctors claim Terri has been misdiagnosed, that she really isn't in a persistant vegetative state. Watching that video of her that's gotten more play than Michael Jackson and his umbrella-handler walking into court, it's almost like she's shaking her head in disbelief wondering why nobody can figure out what's wrong with her.
Ultimately, sadly, Terri Schiavo will die, just like the collective dignity of those people who should know better. And if anything, this whole ugly experience will have people running to their lawyers to ask for living wills before they find themselves incoherent, clinging to life and slapped back and forth as a political ping-pong ball. As for me, I have yet to draw up the paperwork, but I'm putting my parents on notice right now if I get caught in the Twilight Zone between life and death: no drips, no tubes, no lawsuits, no Twinkies.