The motivations of the good folks praying for Terri outside the hospice one can understand. The motives of her parents one can understand. Even the motives of Michael Schiavo one can understand. He wants to be rid of Terri to start a new life with his new family.
What is inexplicable is why he did not get a divorce and let her go. What is inexplicable is the behavior of the media talking heads, who seemed so desperately anxious that the judge's ruling not be reversed and that Terri die. Why were they so pro-death?
One must not interfere in a family decision, they say. But these are the same folks who always demand interference if a father takes a belt to discipline his 14-year-old delinquent son.
This is what Terri would have wanted, they say. We have no right to interfere. But what Terri would have wanted is unclear and in dispute. And if there is disagreement, why not come down on the side of life? Why come down on the side of death, which is final and forever? Why were so many progressives on the side of death for Terri Schiavo?
Conservatives are hypocrites, they charge. The Right opposes judicial activism and preaches states' rights. But in Terri's case, the Right clamored for judicial activism and rejected states' rights.
But this is absurd. The judicial activist in Terri's case is Greer, who sentenced a brain-damaged woman to death by starvation and dehydration. If this is not judicial activism, in violation of a citizen's right to life, due process of law, and not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, what is?
And what is there left to say about that angel of death, the American Civil Liberties Union? As Nat Hentoff writes, the ACLU, "which would be passionately criticizing state court decisions and demanding due process if Terri were a convict on death row, has shamefully served as co-counsel for her husband, Michael Schiavo, in his insistent desire to have her die."
But whose rights were in mortal peril here? Why was the ACLU not at the door of that hospice, denouncing Greer the way it would be at the door of a penitentiary denouncing Jeb Bush, if the ACLU even suspected an innocent man was being put to death?
We have turned a sad page in the history of America's decline.