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Has the Schiavo case Become a Political Football?

 
 
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 06:33 am
There is no doubt that the Terri Schaivo issue has become an emotional rallying point for many people. Is she brain dead? Did Michael Schaivo have any part in the original incident that caused her to have a heart attack? What is Michael's REAL agenda? Why are the Schindler's so hell bent in hanging on? Are THEY dealing with the issue in an realistic fashion?

Emotionally, it is a very complicated case. Since none of us are on the scene, and can't possibly know all of the intracacies of the story, IMO, nobody but the parties involved REALLY know what is happening.

Politically, the case has become a football, with legislators jockeying into position, to use the case to their political advantage. The Governor of Florida attempted to pass a law around the case that has been thrown out of court. The Congress has gotten into areas that were legally in the purview of the States, and the State has stuck their nose in a matter, that is really a private affair, and IMO, none of their business.

But it is not out of the goodness of their collective hearts that this is happening. It is all politics. With all the handwringing on Capitol Hill, I would bet that the legislators are much more concerned about their asses than Terri's. Check this out:



Quote:
A memo from GOP leaders meant to be seen only by Republican senators pointed out the political ramifications of the Schiavo debate and how it could help them with Christian conservatives in the 2006 midterm elections. According to The Washington Post, the memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Tallahassee, who is up for re-election next year.

``This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue,'' said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to the Post. ``This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.''


http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGB6YQPTI6E.html

If the Congress passes any law concerning ostensibly, Terri, I believe that we have started on a slippery slope. The Christian right is attempting to increase its power base, by hook or by crook, and the Constitution, and separation of powers, be damned.

What do you think?
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 07:00 am
Unfortunately a brain dead young woman has become the stuff symbols are made of. I think one of the saddest parts of the affair is that a young woman who had made a habit of starving and binging herself into beauty has achieved national notoriety as a grotesque physical example of distorted love and hope.

I wonder if Terri Schaivo's parents and well wishers had the hourly responsibility of maintaining her empty, deformed body whether they would be as enthusiastic.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 07:14 am
Noddy- To me, the problem is that people are reacting to this emotionally and politicians are using this outpouring of sympathy to make political hay.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 07:17 am
Of course, Terri Schaivo has become a political football. There is no reason whatsoever for this whole family tragedy to be even debated in Congress except that it provides the politicos with juicy headlines. It appalls me that at a time of national emergency and an ailing economy the two major debates in Congess which grab all the headlines are the Schaivo case and the burning question of whether ballplayers use performance-enhancing drugs. Properly, neither item should be any of Congress's business. The Schaivo case has already been settled in the Florida courts, where it properly belongs, and baseball teams come under the jurisdiction of the Baseball Commissioner. Neither matter should even be before Congress.

I'm steamed. Can you tell?
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 07:20 am
MA- So THAT was the smoky stuff coming out the sides of my computer! Laughing

I absolutely agree with you. The time that Congress is spending on these two issues, where they really don't belong, really shows you their priorities.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 08:05 am
my post from yesterday on lettys wa2k thread, and it's gone south since then.
Quote:
Lights, Camera, Action!
Ok now everyone enter stage left, hold your signs so the camera can read them but please don't obscure your faces showing wailing and gnashing of teeth, you will have 2:30 secs to get your message across before we cut to Sen Frist. Hold your cups of life giving water directly in front of the camera with the red light on while sobbing "let Terri live" while ignoring the immense heart-ache to all those immediately involved. This is important so please please please demonstrate piety over reason. We will only have the cameras here for a short time and must make the most of the situation. (let us pray the Terri lives long enough that we get really good media coverage)

Quote:
Quote:
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. -- Activists holding a vigil near where Terri Schiavo is living said they plan to try to bring the brain damaged woman a cup of water today.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 08:42 am
A few thoughts:

Is Congress spending an unusual or inordinate amount of time on the Shiavo issue (or the anabolic steroid issue) or is the media finding these issues to be juicy ways to boost their viewer share or readership?

"Internal memos not intended for public consumption' should never be automatically accepted in the way the media portrays them. There are staffers, sometimes volunteers, in every state party headquarters, every congressional office, and certainly the White House assigned to keep higher ups informed of 'what the people thinks' or 'what the public pulse is', etc. mostly to avoid an unintended public backlash to an otherwise presumed innocuous initiative. The 'memo' cited by ABC may have been nothing other than an exerpt from that kind of report. (We can always discuss whether political capital should ever be a criteria in any policy making, but it is a fact of life and something no politician can completely ignore. We can be certain every congressperson and senator who has had to vote on this issue has had to at least think about the implication of his/her vote.)

Terry Shiavo's parents have wanted/begged for the opportunity to take care of their daughter and have been denied access by her estranged husband who has also blocked their efforts to resume efforts at her rehabilitation for some years now. There are other curious factors being reported by the 'fringe media' as well that will be very interesting if they turn out to have legs.

While I have no problem seeing it as merciful for all concerned to 'pull the plug' on artificial life support in these cases, I have a huge problem seeing nutrition and hydration (food and water) as artificial life support. Try going a whole day without water and see what even the beginning of dehydration feels like. If there is even the possibility that she is aware of pain, she has been sentenced to a very long, miserable death that would be illegal to inflict on any animal in all 50 states. Once a precedent is set and allowed to stand in the courts, it could become routine.

Should Congress be involved at all? It would not be the first time, nor will it be the last, that Congress was asked to pass an emergency law on behalf of a single citizen. As I understand it, they are not intending to overrule the courts but intend to expand the ability of the courts to be involved. That part I will leave to the legal eagles.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 09:01 am
Quote:
Since none of us are on the scene, and can't possibly know all of the intracacies of the story, IMO, nobody but the parties involved REALLY know what is happening.


Foxfyre- I hear you. This entire issue has captured the imagination of many, many people with diverse thoughts on the issue.

Quote:
There are other curious factors being reported by the 'fringe media' as well that will be very interesting if they turn out to have legs.


I have heard a lot of them, including the allegation that Michael Schiavo was responsible for putting her in the condition that she is in. If so, he was never charged, and I would expect that if there were any abuse on his part, the statute of limitations have long passed.

I think that the main problem in this whole thing is that the politicians don't really give a flying flip for Terri. They are muddying states' rights, and the separation of powers, for political gain. And THAT is a much greater issue, than any particular person.
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 09:07 am
Foxy - I heard a veteran hospice nurse (18 years) say yesterday that she's never seen the feeding tube removed in cases like this. She practices in California and said that the tube is always left in place and the nutrition/hydration is gradually reduced over a period of time.

To her, this was much more humane. She said she can't imagine why this wasn't done in Terri's case.

Also interesting, is that she said in California it's not necessarily a spouse that has the authority to make these life or death decisions. The patient's doctor(s) determine this by evaluating who they think is closest to the patient, has their best interests, etc. She said sometimes it's a spouse, other times it's the patient's parents.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 09:33 am
Phoenix writes:
Quote:
I think that the main problem in this whole thing is that the politicians don't really give a flying flip for Terri. They are muddying states' rights, and the separation of powers, for political gain. And THAT is a much greater issue, than any particular person.


In principle I agree with your premise. I am a huge fan of states rights, local rights, personal rights, etc. and think the Federal government should not do anything that cannot be done more efficiently or effectively by the states and/or the private sector.

Do the politicians personally care about Terri? Probably not. Neither do I. Do any of us really? I don't know the woman or any of the parties involved and therefore am not emotionally involved. But I can imagine myself in that kind of situation having to make that kind of decision for a loved one. And I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine myself consenting to withholding food and nutrition to kill a brutal child serial killer or viscious terrorist, much less a still living person whom I loved. So it is a personal empathy I do feel for Terri's parents and siblings who are trying to save her. And I can't believe that at least some of the members of Congress do not feel the same kind of empathy.

JW writes
Quote:
Foxy - I heard a veteran hospice nurse (18 years) say yesterday that she's never seen the feeding tube removed in cases like this. She practices in California and said that the tube is always left in place and the nutrition/hydration is gradually reduced over a period of time.

To her, this was much more humane. She said she can't imagine why this wasn't done in Terri's case


Perhaps and I trust hospice to handle things in the most possible human way.

I was even more impressed by the testimony of an R.N. who for a time cared for Terri and who had the sense that Terri was still inside that body, who witnessed evidence of response to the initial rehab and who feels Terri was done a huge injustice when the husband stopped the rehab.
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 10:01 am
The idea that all of the politicians involved are motivated by a cheap dsire for publicity and none by empathy for the girl is baloney. If I were a lawmaker, I would certainly be trying to help her, simply because I don't want them to do this to her. As it is, I was only able to phone my congressman. Frankly it is childish to maintain that everyone who disagrees with you in any political debate must have base motives. Some do and some don't.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 10:27 am
Her husband was closest to her of all people involved. He was in a position no one else was in to determine what she would have wished for herself. The doctors and courts have seen the futility of doing more for her. A quick injection would end it most humanely.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 10:33 am
Without a living will I have trouble accepting the word of the man who made millions in a lawsuit without ever bringing up that it was her wish not to be kept alive artificially until the case was over. He has since ended all therapy and blocked every attempt by the family to let modern medicine have a crack at her. He has denied every expense possible and now seeks the balance of money awarded for her care. She has never even had an MRI for crying out loud.

I also have trouble believing that even folks who have signed a living will stating they don't wish to be kept alive artificially would agree that food and water qualifies.

The moral issue of deliberately starving a potentially curable person to death is well worthy of debate on it's own merit. Doing so without first fully exploring all avenues of possible treatment, (especially considering that a lawsuit was awarded specifically to for that purpose) strikes me as almost heinous.

IMO, this case has exposed an oversight or shortcoming in Florida Law as it defines "Next of Kin". While we certainly can't know her husband's motivations; it certainly appears that the woman's mother is closer to her in this case.

I find it imminently reasonable that in this country of laws our law makers would seek to provide the maximum protections for our constitutional rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don't understand the objection to giving someone in Terri's condition the right to a Federal review at least as protective as the Habeas Corpus rights of convicted murderers.

If the woman isn't really completely hopeless and unfeeling, the removal of that tube is manslaughter at least (if not pre-meditated murder when you consider the possible financial motive). If the woman truly is hopeless and unfeeling; who is harmed by additional efforts? Her husband understandably moved on years ago. Her parents are literally begging for a chance to take care of her so why not let them? They've even volunteered to accept the burden of cost despite the FACT that there was money specifically awarded for that purpose.

Another thing worth considering is the fact that Criminal prosecutors have a burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a Civil Proceeding a simple preponderance of the evidence is all that's required. That suddenly seems scant little protection for what could potentially be a curable human being with a greedy spouse if you ask me. It seems clear to me that Florida Law has proved inadequate and I applaud the Fed for stepping up and taking extraordinary measures to protect Terry's most fundamental constitutional right. Even if Terry is hopeless; she certainly deserves at least as much protection and benefit of the doubt as convicted murderers receive... and probably much, much more.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:14 am
Foxfyre wrote:
And I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine myself consenting to withholding food and nutrition to kill a brutal child serial killer or viscious terrorist, much less a still living person whom I loved. So it is a personal empathy I do feel for Terri's parents and siblings who are trying to save her.


Now we are getting to another point in this most complex issue. I too am disgusted by the fact that an innocent person has to die slowly, in order that her death stays within the law. But we are now getting into the whole area of euthanasia.

Let us say that we have a person who has specifically written in a Living Will that he/she does not wish to be maintained in a persistent vegetative state, including feeding and hydration. In that case, the law is very clear. The person's desires have to be honored. There is no legal mechanism now for assuring that person a speedy death. And that, to me is cruel, not only for the person involved, but for the relatives and friends who have to watch the process.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:20 am
Did you folks read the link Husker put up on the other thread? Shocked
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:29 am
Bill- If there were even a suspicion of foul play, why have the Schindler's kept silent all these years?
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:45 am
I answered on the other thread.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:47 am
There's no arguing with emotion.
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wenchilina
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:54 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
He has since ended all therapy and blocked every attempt by the family to let modern medicine have a crack at her. He has denied every expense possible and now seeks the balance of money awarded for her care. She has never even had an MRI for crying out loud.


What a load. Do you have any idea the extent he went to with neurosurgeons to revive some function of mind in her?!!? Clearly, you don't. Nor do you understand her condition. She is not " curable ". Why aren't you familiarizing yourself with the details of her condition and the years of treatment she's received before regurgitating this nonsense?!

What's heinous are the ignorant people painting him as some monster. how crass.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 11:57 am
It's not emotion, Edgar. Read this. Doesn't she deserve every benefit of the doubt? Why would he object to an autopsy? Perhaps theres an explanation; but the question should certainly be asked, no?
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