Wednesday, March 30, 2005

No, It's Not About Terri Schiavo Anymore

James Taranto, at Best of the Web, points to this brilliant piece by Mary Johnson, editor of Ragged Edge, a disability-rights magazine:
No; it's not about Terri Schiavo. And it hasn't been for quite awhile.

It's about us.

It's about each of us who thinks "I wouldn't want to live if I were a vegetable." It's about each one of us who thinks, as one blogger wrote, that Michael Schiavo has been "chained to a drooling sh--bag for 15 years."

But it's also about those of us who are those vegetables, those drooling sh--bags. Those of us who want to live but know we're a burden to our families. Those of us who fear "do not resuscitate" orders. Those of us who use ventilators, and who use feeding tubes. And those of us who can communicate with clarity only through artificial means. . . .

There isn't a single disability rights activist I've heard from who is happy that things ended up at such a sorry pass, and who isn't afraid that this will make liberals hate them even more than they now do.

Recurring in the conversations I've held with friends and loved ones on this topic is the notion, "I wouldn't want to be such a burden. . ." Those of us who wish to bob our heads in pleasant agreement may continue to do so but the implications of our tepid acquiescing strikes deeper than most care to think. Who volunteers to become a burden, outside of pathology? I vaguely recall the taboo suicide once held, too.
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