"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The Schiavo case isn't just about Tom DeLay, right-wing Republicans in Congress and crackpot right-to-lifers, though you tend to get that impression from the Beltway pundits, the papers and the TV news.
Personally, I don't give a fig about Tom DeLay. If he were to be replaced in the Republican leadership, that would be fine by me. I will say there is no comparison between the case of his father, grievously wounded and sustained by machines, and that of Terri Schiavo -- notwithstanding the flawed premise of the latest media spin cycle.
The press coverage of Terri Schiavo has been so wrongheaded, so distorted, as to defy belief. This isn't a "right-to-die" case, as it's put in all the poll questions that purport to show 80 percent of Americans favoring Terri Schiavo's death. This is a "right to kill" case, a euthanasia case, a case of "mercy killing," if you like.
She isn't dying; she's being put to death. Between not impeding someone's natural death and causing someone to die, there's a world of difference, Rabbi Marc Gellman has observed. Terri Schiavo wasn't at death's door. Death's door was brought to her.
And yet this distinction seems lost on the press. Where are the copy editors? It's as if the heirs of Emily Litella had donned eyeshades and were running the assignment desks at all the big papers and news stations.
So the great lesson from all this is that we should make living wills? From now on we should be sure to put it in writing that we should prefer not to be killed?
Nat Hentoff, a self-described atheist and a Village Voice institution, describes the mainstream press' handling of the Schiavo story as scandalous, the worst case of journalistic malpractice he's seen in 50 years in the business.
Todd Flowerday suggests St. Blog's is losing its mind over a case that may, at its root, stem from a family falling-out over money.
Obviously, we don't know all the family dynamics at work in the Schindler-Schiavo rift, and a row may well have taken place over money. But as a parent, I am not convinced that purely venal reasons compel a mother and father to try to prevent their daughter from being killed. At any rate, this is beside the point – the putting to death of a disabled woman not otherwise dying.
And as for losing one's head over the Schiavo case – I'll confess I keep getting drawn back to it, because I think a great injustice is being done.
For similar reasons, I suspect, people in the past lost their heads over the Dreyfus Affair, or Sacco & Vanzetti, or the Scottsboro Boys.
The Schiavo situation is, in my opinion, a signal human-rights case, and one that cuts across party lines.
A disabled woman is being put to death under color of law. The cause of death on her death certificate next week will read starvation and dehydration. This is because she didn't have the money or lawyers at the trial court level to establish the "fact" that she didn't want to be killed.
If Terri Schiavo were a convicted murderess facing the death penalty she would have every last federal appeal, and many would be calling for fresh examination of any evidence that might indicate she had been wrongly sentenced.
Now, 10-year-old children are being arrested for trying to bring water to a woman dying of hunger and thirst.