The Left and Terri Schiavo
In an open letter to progressive bloggers, Dave exhorts us to, well, see the forest in the Schiavo case.
You're nitpicking details and ignoring the larger narrative. They are "trying to save this poor woman." They are "defending this poor woman's family." Meanwhile, you are pointing out discrepancies in the finer details. "What about her husband?" you ask when they talk about her parents. "She can't feel pain," you say, when they accuse Democrats of starving her to death. How many people hear that they are trying to save this poor woman? Everyone. How many people, over time, will pay attention to the nitpicking details?
We're arguing the details of their lies instead of reaching the broader, general public with a larger narrative that reinforces public acceptance of the benefits of underlying Progressive values.
I'm inclined to agree. But you know how we got into this position? Because we ignored this case for too long. We were vaguely aware that Jeb Bush was raising some kind of Orc army in Florida. But we didn't give it much thought.
The "leftist murderer" meme predated any sustained progressive interest in the Schiavo case. In retrospect it seems obvious that the right hand-picked the helpless Terri Schiavo as a vector for their hate. Her case was perfect: tragic and doomed. For now, she's a good excuse to pontificate about the sanctity of life. Soon, her death will be conveniently blamed on murderous liberals.
In the spirit of seeing the forest, here are some plot points for the larger narrative:
1. Liberals are the champions of the weak. The weakest members of our society have as much right to make decisions about their medical care as the strongest, loudest bullies. That's why liberals support the rule of law and the integrity of the judicial process.
2. Liberals know that it's wrong to ram a tube into an unconsenting woman's body. But "no" doesn't mean no in the culture of life. Listen to how the pro-tubers talk about Terri. They just know that she's asking for it. They swear it's for her own good. She said "no," but she didn't really mean it. There is a slippery slope here, but it's not the slope from refusing medical treatment to the wholesale elimination of the lame. It's the slope that starts with "erring on the side of life" and slips towards state oversight of biological functions (especially the reproductive ones).
3. Florida isn't a slave state. It is supremely offensive to suggest that Michael Schiavo should give Terri back to her parents. He's not Terri's owner, he's her husband and her guardian. There is clear and convincing evidence that Terri didn't want a tube. There is no evidence that she'd want to be intubated, divorced, and shipped home to mommy, daddy and their creepy cabal of quacks and itinerant friars. Notice the subtext: Terri's desire to control her own body doesn't matter, nice girls sacrifice their dignity to spare the feelings of others.
4. The Schiavo case is about basic fairness. It's about how everyone ought to play by the same rules. No special dispensations, no do-overs, no trials by legislation for the favored few.
5. If anyone needs a sister Souljah moment, it's the pro-tube faction. If the Schindlers are decent people, they will distance themselves from the murderous zealots who threaten the lives of judges. However, nothing in their previous behavior leads me to expect that they will stand on principle. They are more than happy to ruin Michael Schiavo's life with unsubstantiated rumors of abuse, and even attempted murder. They care so little for their daughter's memory or her marriage that they are willing to use the intimate details of her marriage as ammunition, they schemed to parade her contorted body before Congress.
6. The left stands for reason over emotion. Principle over passion. Compassion over cheap sentimentality. And most importantly, for universality. We care about making the system better for everyone. The Schindlers have elevated themselves to the status of holy victims. They are narcissists who believe that their anguish takes precedence over all moral and legal principles. Progressives want to protect Medicare so that all Americans have health care options. We recoil at the Texas "Futile Care Act" because we believe that intimate medical decisions should be made by patients, their families, and caring doctors, not by cash-strapped institutions. And unlike the right wing, we're willing to put our money where our mouth is.
7. The left has the audacious pro-life attitude that healthcare and medical research are more important than tax cuts for the rich. Gawdy spectacle is cheap, but saving lives is expensive. On the left we care about life beyond reality TV.