Strapped for headlines
A USA Today headline: "Schiavo's life was tragically short, but her legacy is long." The first sentence of a Maggie Gallagher column: "Now that Terri's long struggle is drawing to a close, our own begins."
This is going to sound cynical, and for that I apologize, but these writers, newspeople and columnists never paid attention to Terri and others like her before the issue became hot. They're mining people's emotions for attention. Anyway, that's not really relevant, because everyone knows that. On to my point:
John Leo, an op-ed columnist and writer of one page fluff pieces for US News and World Report, orders us to "Think of the Terri Schiavo case as another red-vs.-blue issue." No, John Leo, I won't, because things aren't that simple. This isn't a red-vs.-blue issue. He also quotes Richard Neuhaus approvingly: "Thousands of ethicists and bioethicists, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on its way to becoming the justifiable, until it is finally established as the unexceptional." Many conservatives echo this, because they think that's exactly what happened: something unthinkable was forced down their throats by "the enemy": those freakishly liberal courts, for example. Now, I don't know what the right thing to do in this case was, and I have no argument either way. What I do know is that it didn't take Terri Schiavo and a truck full of bioethicists to "establish" cases like this as unexceptional: they happen all the time, in hospitals, hospices, and homes across the country and the world. Decisions are made, and more often than not someone is disappointed. In trying to make the Schiavo case out to be unique, the media has done us a disservice.