Tuesday, March 29, 2005

People Make Life Fragile

If you have kept up with the Schiavo case very well you may have read the recent article printed in National Review and written by Rich Lowry. The article stresses the value of human life in general. More importantly, Lowry implies that in this case human life has been devalued. He brings forward a debate between those who want Terri Schiavo to live and those who want her to die.

To say the words "those who want her to die" may appear blunt in the extreme to many people out there. Yet this is the exact truth. Lowry points this out explicitly when he discusses the term "allow to die." He suggests that no such thing exists in this case, Terri is actively being killed. Many of you think to yourselves: "Aren't they just taking her off life support? She doesn't want to be kept alive artificially and who would?" I will answer you, first off, no, a feeding tube is NOT life support and that is what was removed from her. This tube simply aided the nurses in doing their jobs. Many people were arrested trying to bring water to Terri, why would they be arrested if she was in a complete vegetative state and therefore unable to swallow? Secondly, if you consider eating food and drinking water to be an artificial means of staying alive then you should try not eating for a while. And third, there is no shame in being cared for when you cannot care for yourself. Did Christopher Reeves commit suicide? No, and the world is a better place because he did not do that. But he did have to be taken care of by other people. He was paralyzed after all. Who knows what might have happened if Terri had been allowed the diagnosis and treatment that could have helped her regain some normality in life . . .

Perhaps no legal recourse exists now to save Terri Shiavo, perhaps Governor Bush has done all he can, perhaps the judge who took over the state of Florida acted in accordance with his understanding of the law, perhaps Michael Schiavo really did hear Terri once say she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Or perhaps not. The fact is, this case is a mix of details that cannot be fully explained. Yet a human life has had the right to live taken without due process of law and without committing any crime against the state wherein that human life resides. That is the most important thing to remember. The rammifications of this case are simple. Remember Hitler, remember his actions against Jews? How about this, remember that he also attempted to cleanse Germany of those who he thought were not good enough to live, those with genetic diseases and those who were handicapped? And his policies caused many deaths. He did this because he believed for some reason that disabled were not contributing members of society, or that they would taint his perfect race. A perfect race then, is one that kills off the old, the disabled, and those who have to be cared for in order to have quality of life? One that takes the work of God into its own hands and acts against those whom it sees fit to act against? Yeah, that makes sense.

Life is fragile because people make it fragile. It is fragile because some people are crooked and twisted, and desire to kill and hurt others. It is fragile because some people cannot see beyond the noses on their face to the cross where one person died so that they would not have to die or to do evil things to others any longer. It is fragile because many would like to act like God, and fail to realize that God is merciful and will forgive them even for pretending to take His place.

I think it is notable that protesters tossed Easter lilies and red roses on Michael Schiavo's lawn on Easter Sunday. And he responded strangely, he turned on his sprinklers and had one of his friends return the flowers to the protesters. He said that he was "very upset." When did a flower hurt anyone? Perhaps the sight of the Easter lilies reminded him of something. But his response expressed a hardening of his heart. Life is fragile, even for those who harden their hearts and refuse to look upon the beauty of flowers. Even for those who construct a precedent in the law that makes life even more fragile than it was before. Even for those who cannot take the law into their own hands to stop the death of one person. But those who accept the mercy of God will find that death is actually fragile. People make life fragile, but God makes death a moot point.

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Good Old Movie

I just finished watching "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Such a grand old film. It is filled with wonderful exchanges such as:
"Why don't you like me?"
"Because you tried to push me out of a window!"
And sentences like this:
"Nobody looks as much like you as you do!"
"Are you sure you didn't come to my office yesterday and try to push me out of a window?"
Anyway, if you click the title you can go see for yourself. It's a fun movie with a very clever use of humor. Old movies are often more humorous than new ones. You may not think so, that's just because you have either an unrefined sense of humor, or you lost it somewhere. I will allow you to figure out which.

Introducing: a change of colors for more serious talk.

I have not kept up on the news lately. But the Schiavo case is really intense right now. That's about all I know. Congress was in session on Palm Sunday. I hope nothing important happens while I am too busy to notice. I would feel like an idiot.

This past weekend I was in Texas with the rest of the debate team. I might get some photos from that up after I get back to school. It was a good time. I learned to appreciate many of the guys whom I have spent a lot of time with and never really talked to. I like to look around and see people for who they really are. It is good to take people for who they are and try to understand them. Sometimes you have to stick up for yourself or your views, but that's okay, because everyone else respects that. I think the strangest experience of the weekend is in the fact that I learned to appreciate my friend Eric. I thought for the longest time that he and I could never get along. Now we're close to being good friends.

People are so interesting. The characters and personalities you meet out there. They are irreplaceable. They are dynamic. If they have no personality then they're dull. But my school is full of characters. I have begun to pay closer attention to the people I hang out with. They are a startling tapestry of individuality. Sometimes the tapestry makes no sense, sometimes the colors are all wrong. But most of the time they blend together in a fun way and make life worth living. Some Russian authors attempted to bring out the characters within their books with lengthy intensity. Those are often called "psychological novels." The interesting thing about real life is that it can be like a Russian novel if you take the time to study the people around you. (Note: I am not referring to the fact that the people in Russian novels always die alone, destitute, cold, in the rain, out on the street, without any friends . . . just to the characterization.) Here is a message to my friends, in the words of Miguel from "The Road to El Dorado" (played by Kenneth Branagh) "You make my life rich."

Dude, it's all about the people.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Say What You Will About Churchill . . .

But this quotation is amazing:

"Let us be contented with what has happened to us and thankful for all we have been spared. Let us accept the natural order in which we move. Let us reconcile ourselves to the mysterious rhythm of our destinies, such as they must be in this world of space and time. Let us treasure our joys but not bewail our sorrows. The glory of light cannot exist without its shadows. Life is a whole, and good and ill must be accepted together. The journey has been enjoyable and well worth making--once. "
~Winston Churchill, "A Second Choice" from Thoughts and Adventures

Churchill made so much sense here. He wrote an essay about what he would do differently if he could live his life a second time. He listed what are historically considered his biggest mistakes, and even suggested that he should not have made them. Yet in the end he expressed in one simple paragraph, and perhaps merely one sentence, exactly the right response to the question of what to do different: nothing. Life is a "journey" that is "well worth making" and "well worth making" once.