Terri Schiavo and Deatheater Glee
Filed under: Culture of Life/Death, Terri Schiavo
So, the Terri Schiavo’s autopsy report came out. And it told us very little that was new. She was in a bad way. Her cortex was not “mush” or a “sack of fluid” but her brain was severely damaged. She was blind. Her brain was shrivelled. Hello? The woman was totally dehydrated and yes, when you are dehydrated your brain will shrink.
I haven’t read anyone, anywhere, who has written down that simple fact.
The autopsy confirmed what no one denied: Terri Schiavo was in bad shape. She was severely brain damaged.
The autopsy did NOT tell us many things. It does not explain if the damage to her brain which defined her as “blind” was damage which occured during dehydration. It does not tell us if therapy, denied to her for 12 years, might have helped her maintain what brain function she had been capable of, ‘way back then. The autopsy does not explain why a woman who was not on life support and was capable of breathing on her own and swallowing her own saliva (and if nurses are to be believed, pudding and soft food) was being fed by a tube, in the first place.
It does not answer the question of what, exactly happened to Terri Schiavo to cause such massive brain damage. It does not tell us if she was, as conventional wisdom insists, “bulimic.” It doesn’t tell us why broken wheelchairs were never fixed, why nurses who put washcloths into Terri’s hand would have them smacked out of her hand by a husband who would warn, “that is therapy.”
The autopsy doesn’t explain why a husband can get away with suddenly “remembering” that his wife “once” mentioned (while watching a sad movie) that she’d never want to be on life support, remembering it some 6 years after the brain accident occured. It does not explain why the absence of written instructions was not compelling, or why written instructions were not needed for courts to rule that a woman who was not dying, was in no danger of dying, had no fatal disease, was apparently not suffering, and who had loving family members willing to care for her NEEDED TO BE DEAD.
I have no doubt that the mainstream press, which didn’t go out of its way to make fine distinctions when reporting on Schiavo’s case in April, will again embrace generalities and will repeat (ad nauseum) whatever autopsy statements it deems “most worthy” of reporting, or “most damaging” to those annoying fundy Christians and Catholics (and a few liberals like Ralph Nader and others).
And of course, if they can snark about the Bush brothers or any GOP politico in the meantime, they won’t mind doing that. Democrats sympathetic to Terri’s case will not be mentioned or bothered for statements, and the world’s foremost Democrat, Hillary Clinton, who was never asked her opinion of the matter while the story burned its hottest, and who managed to lie very low and stay away from the whole issue, will not be asked anything, either.
In other words, the world will go on as usual. Terri Schiavo didn’t have a life you or I would want…but it was her life, and it was taken from her, and not even by the fast, compassionate means by which we execute murderers. A woman who was not brain dead, not fatally injured and not dying is dead, really, for no good reason, and the battle between the Culture of Life and the Deatheaters goes on.
What the Autopsy of Terri Schiavo tells us with enormous lucidity is that the Deatheaters appetites have been whetted. With the release of this report which - as I say - tells us almost nothing we didn’t know, the Deatheaters are not simply feeling vindicated, they are feeling victorious…not just victorious but…gleeful.
It seems to me that when an innocent life has been snuffed out, that is not, perhaps, a time for glee. Quite possibly it is a normal thing, in some circles, to celebrate the destruction of life and then move on to the next battle or party or “pressing issue.” To my way of thinking, when a world has ended, respectful silence is in order, as are time for remembering, and prayers for regretting where we have fallen short.
The news of this woman’s deplorable brain damage makes her death seem right and justified to them, they are all but dancing about it. For them, this is a defeat for the president, for Christians, for pesky right-to-lifers.
It is a “win” for…personal autonomy, supposedly. If, by personal autonomy, you mean being unable to speak for yourself and at the mercy of a husband who suddenly recalls what you supposedly wanted…maybe…and is more willing to see you die than err on the side of life and maybe let your family take care of you. If that’s what you mean by personal autonomy and personal choice, well, then…yes, it’s a win.
But it is a win by which we all lose.
There is little new in Terri Schiavo’s autopsy report. But the salivating, overt, belly-shaking glee of the Deatheaters, that might be new.
Or…it might be old as hell.