Wednesday, March 23, 2005


As well written a piece as my previous posted link is, still - -
I’ve changed my mind. And not because the courts are going this way. This whole topic has just injected itself (pun intended) into my thoughtstream because it is another example of when principles collide. A grey area.
Did it ever occur to you that even the spelling of grey (gray) is a grey area?
My precise point is that I don’t know, I can’t say what the level of true intimacy is/was between Michael and Terry Shiavo. Failing that, I’ve concluded that their right of privacy supercedes the government's (my) right to interfere. This same question can be used to support the opposite conclusion. However, that’s where I, as a citizen of this country, must place my trust in the court system. The courts have consistently sided with Michael, conservative and liberal judges alike.
I’ve also weighed this in light of my own circumstances. Agreed, I have been married (consciously) for a longer period of time, but I still think that I am far more aware of my wife’s true wishes than her family. I’m not casting aspersions at her family. I think she knows mine better than my family. The fact that he has consistently stood his ground, without wavering, even under criticism and the offers of millions of dollars to drop his suit, is barely relevant. I’ve somehow managed to place myself in his position, now aligned seemingly against the Congress of the United States. He must feel like the Chinese man, standing with his groceries in front of a tank.
Does this mean I’ve abandoned Terry? I don’t think so. I think it is part of recognizing the sanctity of marriage. It’s the "For worse" part. I think he’s proved his love and devotion to her, in the face of some pretty imposing forces. If my concept of marriage is correct, then I have willingly placed the responsibility of these decisions upon my wife's shoulders, and she upon mine, in the absence of any written directives. I wasn't thinking about this, earlier this week.
I think it stinks on ice, either way. I am completely clear on that.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Great Moral Argument

I wish I could write like this:
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal Opinion Page, March 18, 2005
An interesting twist on Terry Schiavo's life and influence on all of us. I particularly like the stories relating to Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan.
Read it at your own moral peril.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Thatsa My Boy!

Samuel, my 8 year old son, won a "Write Across America" Dr. Seuss essay competition at school last week. We're pretty proud of him anyway, but this was fun. Below is his essay. The "payoff" comes at the end, the editorial "Note from author" . . .

The Sneetches
by Sam Goble
Once there were sneetches on the beaches. There were star-bellys and non star-bellys. The star-belly sneetches stars were in fact very small, you would think something that small would really not matter at all. But it really did, the star-belly sneetches thought they were better for no real reason at all. The star-belly sneetches didn't invite any, oh no, not one plain-belly sneetch to their frankfurter roasts or marshmallow toasts, year after year.
Then a stranger came to town in the most unusual of cars. "I am Sylvester McMonkey McBean! I have heard of your problems so just come to my star on machine it will put stars right on you bellies for just 3 dollars each." So they paid up and went straight into the machine and plopped out and then the ones that didn't have stars before bragged that they now had stars on their bellies. They couldn't tell each other (apart?) and that was just the problem. The ones that had stars before said that they were still the best sneetches on the beaches and Sylvester McMonkey McBean told them to take a trip through his star-off machine for 10 dollars each. They went through, plopped out and the ones that now had stars knew that having a star was now quite bad. In, out, in, out, in, out, stars on, stars off, stars on, stars off. In and out of the machine the sneetches went paying alllll their money over nothing. Then Sylvester McMonkey McBean packed up and left with all the money. I'm sure he at least had $1,000 by then and said, "You can't teach a sneetch." But then back at the sneetches beaches the star-bellies and non star-bellies were friends.
The End
Moral: The moral of this story is not to judge anyone by their looks.
*Note from author: I was wondering why the non star-bellies didn't make their own fun?
Dad's got nothing to add to that.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Thank you for Playing Double Jeopardy

Today, in the course of 5 minutes, I was informed of one woman going into labor, while another one reported the stillbirth of her child. It’s a train wreck in my heart. It’s, well, Bittersweet. It’s only 9 o’clock in the morning.
There have been a lot of big thoughts pounding around in my head lately. It seems that seeing movies isn’t helping that process much, lately, either. "I Heart Huckabees" gives very little in the way of comfort or guidance to those of us mired in our own existential morass. It made me feel like I was floating in a tepid bowl of wor wonton soup, bobbing up and down with pieces of philosophies. Unsettled. Jude Law needs a haircut. Not a bad movie. It’s destined to be some cult’s classic.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the big "Why?" lately. I guess it comes with the news that there’s a new prenatal blood test that’s coming over the horizon. From what I read, there are fetal cells that make their way through the placental barrier into Mother’s bloodstream. These can now be identified, separated, and tested for lots of things. I became aware of this in the context of someone accusing the March of Dimes organization of an agenda of eugenics. It’s so hard to look at these things without some sort of agenda forming, some group with their feelings hurt, some moral issue to confuse the plodding of pure science toward our own self-destruction. Sorry – lost my head there for just a moment.
Anyway, it started what I’ve come to recognize as a circular process, a Mobius strip of questions that ultimately lead back to themselves, in, out and around in a never-ending loop. Let me see if I can drop you in - you can start just about anywhere:
Is my daughter defective? Genetically so? Societally so? If so, how defective does a human need to be to render them invaluable? Are they mutually exclusive properties? Should her condition be protected, suppressed, or eliminated altogether? (program note: The March of Dimes was created to fight Polio, when it was gone, it shifted to "improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.") Is Trisomy 21 a birth defect? Is it merely an affect? Should it be prevented? If so, then does that make my daughter a "mistake"? If so, then how should she be treated (by all of us)? If she’s got a birth affect, then, again, should it be prevented, or accepted, protected, embraced, or even revered, as I’m told some American Indian tribes have. It does not make sense to desire that my daughter was born with T21. As much as I love her, I will always miss what she cannot be. Furthermore, with the availability of these tests and abortion, to possess the selfish thoughts that question what might have been, otherwise. How defective am I? Did we make the right decisions?
Underlying all of this are the subtexts and rythms of religion, relationships, science, philosophy, and culture. Which leads me to the blood test.
Currently (as I understand it), a conclusive, prenatal diagnosis of T21 is via amniocentesis. This invasive procedure carries its own risk factors; as such it is often not used, and the knowledge remains inconclusive until birth. It only seems logical that this new test is going to lead to more abortions. I’m not here to debate that topic, it just thrusts me into the vortex, again.
Is my daughter going to be an anachronism, in her own time? Is that a bad thing? It certainly could be if she’s going to be an adult who’s self-aware enough to know that there will be no more like her, that her particular "configuration", if you will, has been eliminated. Can you see the emotional conundrum?
Now, I should ask polio and thalidomide survivors if they mind, I’d think not. I just can’t help but think that, somehow, T21 is different. I have a co-worker with CP who is productive, articulate, and as far as I can see, no less happy and involved in the human experience than I. Now, CP is usually an injury, but my point in bringing it up here is to involve the spectre of degree. How much defect is enough? How ya gonna know, prenatally, beyond the chromosome count? Is it better to be safe, than sorry? Should we even be sorry? Put another nickel in, here we go on another ride.
Like I said, I’ve had a lot on my mind. At least the rain has finally stopped for a while.