This is going to be my only entry discussing the Schiavo disaster. And it is a disaster. It used to be merely a tragic story, but when the religio-political opportunists got involved, it turned into a farce, and then rushed headlong into being a disaster.
Whether you support the parents of Mrs. Schiavo, or her husband, I think that each side of the argument has very valid reasons for their position. But where they go wrong is when they try to apply those positions to anybody other than themselves and their own lives. Of all the ink spilled and airwaves filled with blathering, nobody but Mrs. Schiavo and her husband know what they discussed regarding her wishes for end-of-life care. This is why it’s so important to have that collection of documents known as a “Living Will.”
For what it’s worth, the Schiavo case is not far off the situation faced by gay couples all the time, insofar as the challenges facing a partner who, while s/he may know more about a person’s wishes in this regard, can be completely shut out of the medical decision-making process by bigoted family members. Horror stories many times more heartbreaking than the Schiavo case are legion in the gay community, especially after the ravages of AIDS. Partners who cared for their dying lovers being thrown out of the hospital room moments before their partner’s passing by narrow-minded, self-centered family members who have every right under law, but no right under any interpretation of decency or morality.
What sticks in my own mind about the Schiavo disaster is this: I just cannot imagine that if Mr. Schiavo had anything less than boundless love and devotion to his wife, he wouldn’t have packed it in years ago. If he was just tired of her and eager to see her dead, he could have filed for divorce fifteen years ago and gone on with his life, leaving the poor lady to the tender mercies of her nutty family… a family who, according to many observers, took a far less significant interest in her well-being before they realized how much money could be made on the pro-life speaking circuit. It also bears pointing out that Mr. Schiavo, instead of grandstanding before the cameras over the last several weeks, has been by his wife’s bedside almost constantly and hasn’t said hardly a peep to the media.
It takes a special kind of love for Mr. Schiavo to keep fighting this fight and facing down the religio-political opportunistic hoards. In fact, I promise you, gentle reader, that if I had to run the gauntlet of obnoxious protesters (e.g., cheering to greet the priest who administered the communion) to be with a dying relative at that hospice, I’d probably have rounded up some automatic weaponry and sent the whole lot of them to meet the maker they seem so reluctant for Mrs. Schiavo to meet.
At any rate, my feeling is that if you’re not a member of the Schiavo and Schindler families, you really should shut the hell up. That’s why I haven’t said anything before, and why I won’t say anything more.