Thursday, March 24, 2005


Suppressing Emotions So That Reason Can Prevail

I've been extremely reluctant to write on the Terry Schiavo case primarily because there are countless others doing it - many of whom can articulate the debate enormously more effectively and articulately than I can. But I feel compelled to make an observation.

As seems to be the case with nearly everything these days, either partisan politics or emotions seem to drive people's arguments - on both sides of the political spectrum. Most of the time, this is just a frustrating phenomenon to observe, since it rarely advances the discussion or alters any opinions. However, in a life-or-death situation like Terry Schiavo's, it is truly heart-breaking.

What we need is a well-reasoned debate and that is, as usual, the one thing that's been largely missing with respect to this case. That's a travesty when a human life hangs in the balance. The ensuing emotional firestorm is understandable but not, ultimately, helpful. That was why it was especially refreshing to read the article this morning at the usually left-leaning Slate.

It is a reasonable, fair-minded assessment of the case and, subsequently, it is the best argument I've read so far as to why Congress was right to intervene on Terri Schiavo's behalf. It's just a shame there has not been more of this, since it is potentially quite persuasive. As Ms. Johnson puts it in her article:
My emotional response is powerful, but at bottom it's not important. It's no more important than anyone else's, not what matters. The things that ought to matter have become obscured in our communal clash of gut reactions.


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