When and how does life begin? These are questions that mankind has wondered since the day we first walked on this earth.Today is no exception to this continued questioning of life, but it is now modified with the added question, when and how does life end? Is it within the power of an ambitious judge down in the “Sunshine State” to decide whether or not some one?s life should end? Take the death penalty issue out of the picture and most people would overwhelmingly say no.
Look at what?s happening in Florida with the ongoing case of Terri Schiavo. In the ongoing question of what her fate ought to be, there is another question: do Americans still care about the nation?s founding principles? “That all Men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”
To many others, this is a big religious issue. To me, it?s even bigger than that. Do we still respect human life? President George W. Bush said that he wants to promote a “culture of life.” This could be a culture where abortions are reduced and not needed, where adoption is promoted, where the quality of life for the elderly is excellent and life in general is respected, from natural birth to natural death.
I like Bush?s idealism, but to the surprise of many, I oppose it. I do not oppose it because it?s a bad idea, but because, frankly, we don?t deserve it. A “culture of life” within America is an oxymoron. Americans have made their choice to go the other way. Look in the national mirror, right at the Terri Schiavo case in Florida. In a culture where so many people across the county are “campaigning for euthanasia,” that these people actually want to see someone put to death by euthanasia and die over the course of two weeks, from starvation no less, embracing and respecting life is a farfetched goal.
Whether or not this is a mercy killing, there is something seriously wrong in our heads if we actually want to see death succeed. In a culture where the husband has the authority to pull the plug but the loving parents have no say in the matter, a “culture of life” is elusive. Who is really acting in Schiavo?s best interest: the guy who wants to pull the plug, or the parents who are trying to save her?
Schiavo deserves to be cared for by her parents. Clearly, they love her best.
According to Kate Adamson from www.katesjourney.com, “The measure of a society is how they treat the least of us.” Adamson, a former “vegetative state” patient, claims that the eight-day removal of her feeding tube caused her excruciating pain. “Life is sacred or meaningless,” she says. “There is nothing in between.” These are words of wisdom, and words that Americans should consider. Yet who has the legal authority in this case? The guy who wants to pull the plug! Meanwhile, the parents are willing to take care of their daughter who can still respond to them. Remember, Schiavo is not in a brain-dead or vegetative state. She responds to music, her mom and balloons. I hope I?m not the only one who sees something wrong here.
We don?t deserve to be a culture of life, not when abortion becomes available on demand, not when the death penalty is exploited by judges to make examples of criminals, and most certainly not whenan ambitious judge can hand down a ruling that someone?s
feeding tube is to be removed, on his “sole judicial authority.” A “culture of life” needs to reject the existing culture of death before even thinking about reforming itself.
Anthony Maalouf is a junior majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish.