And so, it is finally over for Terri Schiavo, her husband, and her parents.
I was sadder than I thought I would be. Like most people, I had expected it to end just as it did, with Terri dying, hopefully, peacefully and without any more pain and suffering. I sincerely hope that there can be closure and, perhaps, even reconciliation between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents. I don't know if that is possible, or if they will go on blaming him for their little girl's demise.
I do think he ought to honor their wishes for a burial rather than a cremation. At this point, I also think the wishes and the emotional comfort of the living take precedence over those of the deceased. I know others will disagree. But letting the Schindlers have the funeral and burial they want for their daughter might go a long way towards healing between the two families.
On the other hand, I don't think that her death will do anything to assuage the passions of the radical right that has camped out on the door of her hospice these past few weeks. If anything, I think they are just getting revved up for battle. In their minds, they now have more fuel for the fight over the appointments of judges, especially to the Supreme Court. They will take their anger out at all the judges who denied the Schindlers' requests to reinsert the feeding tube, even though many of those judges were, in fact, Republicans appointed by George H.W. Bush. Judge Greer was even a Southern Baptist until asked by his church to resign.
These are dangerous times, my friend, for individual liberty. The radical religious right, in all its permutations, is on the march. It may be the last stand of those afraid to face the uncertainty of the 21st century, with all its dazzling science, art, and culture. But it's a stand that they will fight for until the death, either ours or theirs.
This article from the Miami Herald of a few days ago illustrates how determined Jeb Bush truly was to intervene. State police were prepared to defy a judge's order and to physically take Terri into custody and transport her to a hospital to have the feeding tube reinserted. Only the Pinellas Park police prevented it by alerting the state officials that they were prepared to enforce the judge's order even if it meant a police showdown. Had the state police not backed down, it would have led to a constitutional crisis.
I am grateful for the country, the State of Florida, and for the Schiavos and Schindlers that this agony is over.
But I also still fear for my country. This is indeed the time for winter soldiers and not sunshine patriots.
Meanwhile, rest in peace Terri; your long battle is over and right now, you are seeing the face of God.