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12:49 am EST        35°F (2°C) in Dexter, MI

Calendar of Updates

This update marks another milestone in the history of this News section of Larry's Phat Page. This is the 250th update I have made here; it has taken six years and three weeks to get to this point, counting a 27-month period of complete inactivity between late 2001 and early 2004. Taking that time period out, it has still taken me just under four years of actual "active" time to reach 250 updates. That may not seem like much given that a lot of people with nothing better to do probably update their blogs 250 times in a year, but I have always (for the most part) had better things to do with my time. If anything, I think the longevity of this section is the more impressive thing; as I mentioned above, I've been at this for over six years now. Though I generally dislike the use of the term "blog" to describe this section, I suppose it can be said that I was blogging several years before most people knew what a blog was.

At some point in the future — contingent upon finding several hours with nothing else to do — I am planning to write a long post here. It will be a sort of "manifesto" if you will; that is to say, it's going to detail a lot of things I need to say, but haven't said yet for whatever reason. To a certain extent, I've been kind of pussy-footing around a number of my own issues lately, and I don't think doing that is all that helpful. If I had time tonight, I might start something like that, but time is already running short on me this evening.

In tonight's update, though, I wanted to talk about an issue that has dragged on far too long at this point: the case of Terri Schiavo, the 40-something Florida woman who has been in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state since 1991. She suffered brain damage when her heart stopped for several minutes as a result of an eating disorder; doctors have determined numerous times in the past 14 years that she has no hope for recovery into a non-vegetative state. Her husband Michael, and her parents Bob and Mary Schindler, have been battling in court for years over the continued use of a feeding tube that has kept Terri alive. Despite the lack of any legal documentation (and honestly, why would they have drawn anything up — she was in her mid-20s when this happened), Michael Schiavo insists that Terri once told him she would not want any extraordinary medical care; he says he is trying to honor Terri's wishes by having the tube removed and letting Terri die. The Schindlers, on the other hand, claim that Terri responds to them and can recover fully in time — which not only flies in the face of the unanimous opinion of doctors in the case, but is also a questionable assertion in and of itself. The human body is capable of hundreds of autonomous (i.e., unconscious and uncontrollable) responses, and I have not yet seen any proof (in videos that TV networks keep replaying) that she has any conscious, pre-meditated responses to stimuli. In any case, the Schindlers are seeking to have Michael Schiavo removed as Terri's legal guardian, a position he has as her husband.

Before the "life is supreme" crowd of Wacko Radical Righties jumps down my throat, I have to make one thing crystal-clear. This is a case in which the usual boundaries of right and wrong do not apply; there is no possible outcome that is completely right. The moral and ethical questions posed by this situation really cannot be answered in cut-and-dried terms. On the one hand, it would be wrong to "kill" Terri, as conservatives claim is happening with a recent court order to remove the feeding tube; on the other, must she be forced to remain only artificially alive, and even then only in certain limited ways?

I have not heard that Terri Schiavo is clearly suffering in any noticeable way, so obviously this isn't a case of trying to put her out of misery. However, when the conservative position is usually stated as "we believe life ends at natural death (emphasis mine)," it is clear that hypocrisy is being employed. Speaking purely in terms of nature, with no artificial means for survival such as feeding tubes, Terri would have died in 1991. If conservatives truly believed that life ended at natural death, they would have opposed the insertion of a feeding tube in the first place!

I particularly hate the fact that Terri Schiavo, if left alive, is being used as nothing more than a pawn in a battle being carried out among politicians. We are talking about a group of scum-bags for whom control and power is more important than right and wrong — on both sides of the aisle. In 2005, that seems to mean that Republicans and other conservatives take hypocrisy to unimaginable heights to justify their hunger for power, while Democrats, as the minority, demonstrate nothing more than knee-jerk opposition to whatever the conservative position is. It's not fair to Terri to have conservatives use her as a way to fire up their voting base; at the same time, it's equally unfair to Terri for liberals to unthinkingly insist on a step that will end her life within a few weeks.

I pointed out one shining example of conservative hypocrisy two paragraphs ago; I will now state another one. The very same people who talked up the "sanctity of marriage" last year in their un-American 11-state campaign of bigotry, legalized exclusion, and hatred are the people who are now seeking to undermine Michael Schiavo's marital right and responsibility to act as Terri's guardian! It seems to me that man-woman marriage is sacrosanct when you want to show just how much you hate all those gay homosexual faggots, but doesn't matter a bit when it comes to a person's private medical decision (or one made for them by their legal guardian) to end the use of extraordinary life-prolonging care.

I seriously can't believe what this country is coming to sometimes. Conservatives are leading us along the path to the 11th level of hell, and liberals are putting up at best token opposition to stop them. May God save the United States of America, before it's far too late.