Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Right to Die Without CNN

Maybe the right wing has finally sailed off the edge.

You hear all the time that you really can't understand this or that until you've been through it, yet a stunning number of right wing self-proclamed "Christians" have declared that they know better than Michael Schiavo what should happen to his wife, Terri.

Remember ... these are the same people who want to protect the sanctity of marriage from gay people.

First, the case is driven heavily by (big shock) money. Read more here.

If you've never had the experience of having to execute the wishes of a loved one and withdraw treatment, food and water, then I envy you. It is an agonizing task even when the path is absolutely clear.

In our case, it was my father-in-law, who had made his views very, very clear. As with most of us, he said (and conveyed to us in legal documents) that if he were stricken with, for example, a massive stroke or strokes and had no hope of recovery or regaining awareness that he was alive, that we should discontinue treatment (he was diabetic) and all life-sustaining support. That means giving the order for no more food or water.

That's what happened (two strokes, one on each side of his brain) and that's what we did -- executed his wishes. What we might have wanted was irrelevant. My husband made a solemn oath to his father. He kept his word. It took a week for him to die. It felt like a month.

But we did all this as ordinary people do -- without CNN and FOX news running his deformed image as art for B-roll video. We did it with some discussion and discomfort among family members, but we explained how the process works, we explained that these were his wishes and not open for negotiation. Above all else, we explained that he was not only not suffering, he was not aware that he was alive. We had no right to hold his body, if not to say his very soul, hostage for our own comfort.

So, to the freaks who claim to be attempting to "save" Terri Schiavo ... shame on you. If you do this on a religious basis, you should account for yourselves to a God whom you claim to trust, but whose will you would stubbornly thwart through machines and artificial existance.

This case is one of flexing political might and everyone knows it. for a matinee, Bush flies back to Washington to sign emergency legislation. Don't they have a fax machine in Crawford? Is it not a law if it's signed out of the district?

This follows the main event -- Congress passing a piece of legislation under orders from Randall Terry (head of "Operation Rescue") that those who did not vote for the bill would pay dearly at election time. He and his supporters didn't work so hard for the last 15 years to control both houses to watch it all go down the drain now, he said.

That's pretty overt.

Thankfully, the courts have been remarkably swift, responsive and consistent. They have backed this man whose commitment is remarkable. Let's hope a peaceful end is not far away for this poor woman and that her blood relatives can figure out how to let this go.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Embracing gay marriage

My dearest and I took our vows in the living room of a Justice of the Peace at 8:00 p.m. on a rainy Wednesday night, after working all that day. Our only witnesses were the JP's two dogs. His wife respectfully excused herself to the next room.

Our marriage, licensed by the state of Connecticut, has never been validated by either of our churches.

We have, however, a remarkably rich spiritual life. We take good care of each other and our children. We cared for his parents until each of them died. After 27 years of marriage and 28 years together, we still stay up late talking to each other, whispering our hopes and fears across our pillows.

It is too much to hope for that every couple could enjoy such comfort and happiness. It is too little to demand that every human being have the chance to pursue it. Perhaps this is why our country's founders put that "pursuit of happiness" clause in the earliest documents of our creation. It is not the espoused "values" of any church that matter here, it is the public policy of a civilized society.

After all, churches don't license and regulate marriage -- the state does that ... and that's all the state should do. My marriage doesn't need "protection" from gay couples any more than I need "protection" from people with blue eyes or red hair.

Why I do need protection from is the intrusion of the state and corporations, whether under the disguise of the Patiot Act or the everyday indignity of the store clerk asking my zip code before selling me a pack of gum for 50 cents.

Of course, that's a whole different rant ...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Chris Paul's cheap shot

Ho hum ... wallop in the jewels -- that's how Chris Paul dropped Julius Hodge to the floor of the RBC Center in the NC State Wake Forest game that ended the regular season. Regretably, Paul was not yanked out of the game immediately, as apparently none of the zebras spotted the offense. Instead, he continued to play (not even getting a technical foul) and was on hand to inbound the ball with 4.2 seconds left, have the ball passed right back to him, raced up the floor and tossed in the game-winning swish at the buzzer.

But he should have been in the locker room, waiting for his teammates. A day late and a dollar short, his coach suspended him for this "inapproriate behavior" and Paul has apologized.

"I would like to apologize to Julius Hodge, the NC State team, Wake Forest fans and my teammates for an incident that I truly regret. Sunday night was emotional for me for many reasons and I let my emotions get the best of me. However, that is no excuse for my actions and I fully accept and agree with my suspension."

Oh, right ... emotions. The driving force for all bad male behavior. I hope they get bounced in the first round of the ACC tournament. Go Heels.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Desperate Times

Oh, my goodness.

In today's Chapel Hill Herald is among the most bizarre house ads I've ever seen. It features the submission deadlines for display advertising. Oh, the stink of having nothing to say.

It's not like they ever ran ANY house ads to support columnists ... oh, no. Not since Mike Peterson and his successor, Gaspo. They've run some stuff for John McCann, but lately, you wouldn't even know that there was any local voice in the paper at all. Local-shmokal. We should have noticed that Paxton Media has AX right there in plain sight.

C'mon ... the writing's on the wall. They're going to dump the Chapel Hill edition and focus on making the Durham paper profitable as some kind of a niche publication. Even the Independent thinks that recent layoffs of pressmen means they may kill the CHH. Meanwhile, the N&O will open its new Orange County bureau headed up by Mark Schultz, formerly the Editor of the CHH. It's back to the future. Hope this one has a happy ending ... somehow.