Upon hearing the Pope was near death, a coworker said, "It always happens in threes- first Terri Schiavo, then the Pope! Who's going to be third?" Being the obnoxious person I am, I pointed out that thousands of people are born and die every day. (My wife informs me that Frank Perdue just kicked the giant KFC bucket, so I guess I was wrong.)
What have we learned from this horrible Terri Schiavo mess? I have to take the coward's way out and say that I have no idea what it's like to have a mother, daughter or wife be a vegetable for fifteen years, so I really can't make an informed opinion. I've never been brain-dead either, so I can't say weather I'd want my tube pulled or not. Right now, I'll state that no, I do not want to be a vegetable for fifteen years. But who knows what I'd feel once I was in that state- if I could feel anything at all. When I know death is just around the corner, I might be terrified. The only solution is to create some sort of telepathy device that can be used to find out the wishes of the dying.
The only alternative is what we have here on Earth when there is no clear cut route: we break into two camps- some vehemently for, some vehemently against. The ones who were for pulling the tube felt that they wanted this woman (and hopefully themselves, if they were ever in that situation,) to die with some sort of peace. The ones who were against are afraid because it seems that human life is becoming less and less sacred. (They do have a point. Would you ever think of starving a dog to death?) As always, the issue no longer became what is the right thing to do, it became which side is right. One side became murderers, the other side became the (dum dum dummm!) Religious Right. All politicians had to be seen putting in their 2000 cents. Prayers mixed with jeers came from both sides.
The family turned further and further in on each other, to the point where Terri's husband banned her parents and brother from her deathbed. Now this poor woman has passed on. The dust has settled, until the next crisis that involves us to rise up in gangs against each other. Are we really so lonely that this is the only way we feel we can belong to something?
RIP, Terri, His Holiness, and yes, Frank Perdue. Thank God we were spared a holy war over light and dark meat.