There is a lethal bigotry against the disabled in our country and it’s getting worse, in particular against the cognitively disabled—human beings who are being killed every day in our nation. If left unchecked it will likely threaten the lives of everyone who is not able-bodied. This is especially problematic when you have potential leaders who have made it abundantly clear that they are going to do nothing to protect the value and dignity of people like my sister.
I often wonder if our presidential candidates would make such insensitive and callous comments if this were their child or if they had ever known someone like Terri.
Perhaps they could take time to visit my parents and see the agony and torment that remains with them every single day as a result of having to needlessly watch their disabled child slowly killed by dehydration and starvation.
Maybe as president they could explain why my parents were told by the armed police guarding Terri that if either of them tried to give her ice for her bleeding lips they would be arrested immediately.
Maybe my parents could remind all three candidates, who are parents themselves, that a mother and father value nothing in life more than their children and want only to love them unconditionally and protect them in every way possible—a right you can no longer take for granted.
March 31st will mark the third anniversary of my sister’s brutal death. Sadly, it is a day that reminds me of what our nation has become, bringing back horrible images of a hideously inhumane death and how the judge who sentenced Terri to die also, in essence, sentenced my parents to death with her.
Senator Obama said that his biggest regret was allowing Congress to try to help my sister. I wish I could ask Terri about her biggest regret, because as things turned out I’m certain that hers would have been that she was born in an America where life is no longer viewed as precious and worthy of protection.
As I think about the future of our nation I can’t help but remember the words of one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson: “The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”