Friday, March 25, 2005

Amy Welborn has a good post about the sadness of the Schiavo debate.

What I find most sad, besides the simple fact of a woman starving to death, is the deep poltical polarization that this case has made manifest. It seems a lot of people would rather see an innocent woman die than be on the same side as Tom DeLay.

There's the consistency "gotcha" games that are driving me mad. Dahlia Lithwick, who I took down below, followed that up with another article, on a theme I'd seen around the 'Net a few times saying that conservatives are inconsistent for wanting to re-insert the tube, since they favor the "sanctity of marriage." (I should not here that Slate also posted a wonderful article in favor of the feeding tube here.)

First, nobody would support a "she was asking for it" defense of spousal abuse. Second, it's dismissively these writers wave off the second family Michael Schindler has started in the meantime. If the only witness in a capital case was the accused's spouse, and that spouse had since started living with somebody else, that would be relevant, wouldn't it? Would it be "judgemental" to note, and check against this conflict of interest?

Second, so what? Implicit in any accusation of inconsistency is the assumption that the argument is being made in bad faith, and there's some alterior motive in play. But I fail to see what possible alterior motive there could be for keeping Terri Schiavo alive. It's not going to result in a billion dollar contract for Halliburton. Really, who is it that stands to benefit from keeping Schiavo alive?

I can sort of understand why some people might feel this way about abortion, because there are some (though certainly not most) pro-lifers whose opposition from abortion stems from a misogynist view of women rather than an abiding respect for unborn life. But in this case?

If it's the sanctity of marriage, rather than keeping Schiavo alive that you have a problem with, then we can debate that. If you think the Schiavo case illustrates that the emphasis on the importance of marriage is inappropriate, we can discuss that. I'll disagree, but not as much as I'll disagree with you starving a woman to make a political point.

It's just sad. And I know it seems I'm pointing fingers here, but I acknowledge that actions by people like DeLay have led to this rift. But I can't imagine hating one's political opposition so much that you'd want to let an innocent woman starve to stick it to her.

And I don't know how to fix it. But we better figure it out soon.
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