Here is a morning’s round-up of reactions to the life of Terri Schiavo and lessons to be drawn from it.
Leonard Pitts, writing in the Miami Herald about coming to terms with his mother’s death from breast cancer, says that facing the reality of death is not a betrayal of faith.
Jonathan Chait in the LA Times offers the provocative opinion that the Republican party, rather than being highjacked by religious conservatives, has highjacked religious conservatives. He points to the cynical greed of lobbyist Jack Abramoff who took $4 million from one tribe to prevent another tribe from opening a competing casino. Abramoff and Ralph Reed enlisted Focus on the Family followers to write letters opposed to the gambling casino while pocketing $4 million, nor explaining that they were really protecting the existing casino from competition.
The New York Times editorializes that this family tragedy was turned into an international spectacle by self-aggrandizing outsiders and powerful persons for whom politics is about maximizing hysteria at the margins.
The Washington Post writes that Ms. Schiavo’s legacy would best be served as the start of a national conversation about how we decide complex questions about end-of-life care, among other important questions, given new medical technologies that present us with options to preserve life that we’ve not had before.
The Houston Chronicle says the Schiavo case illustrates that one law cannot accommodate the unique circumstances of the multitude of complicated medical conditions we face. It also comments on the quiet conversation among some medical professionals about the the costs of maintaining persons in irreversible medical decline compared to the need for funds to vaccinate poor children, health insurance for the middle class, health needs of the poor and the nutritional needs of underprivileged children.