Schiavo Case Allows for Advancement in Political Agenda

El Vaquero Staff Writer

The Terri Schiavo case played out in the media like a never ending melodrama. A woman in a vegetative state, inconsolable parents, and a husband who was depicted by the general public as a greedy, heartless man, were all key elements in keeping the audience and the media on the edge of their seats.

The inevitable climax of the story surged when lawmakers in Washington voted on a measure that would allow the federal courts to get involved in the Schiavo case. President George W. Bush agreed upon the measure, signed it, and then suddenly, all hell breaks loose. The country is torn in half over a private family matter that by no means required the intervention of Congress. So then, why did Congress feel the need to step in?

In a survey conducted by CBS, 82 percent of Americans thought Congress and President Bush should not have gotten involved in the Schiavo case; 74 percent thought they had done so to advance a political agenda.
In politics, everything is possible. Dismissing the intervention of Congress as a ploy to push a political agenda would be foul, especially since it is now when congressmen and women turn to the public in order to preserve or gain a seat in the Senate and in the House of Representatives as the elections of 2006 draw closer.

And, although President Bush is not eligible for re-election in 2008, putting his foot down in regards to the Schiavo case would not only play out to the American people as a noble gesture, but, it would also serve as a way to digress from the current political difficulties that the country faces.

There are countless amount of things that plague our country today.
There is a war in Iraq that seems to be going nowhere. Day and day out, innocent lives are being lost for no apparent reason other than the resentment toward our troops and our country. So, how does all of a sudden a case that has been going on for 15 years become a matter of national concern and a priority on the agenda of politicians?

Congress’s intervention did three things, it put their political motives out in the open, it echoed a highly emotional mix of religion and politics, and it further widened the gap between conservatives and liberals in the United States. As a consequence, these three things triggered the need for a forum that would allow the American public to scrutinize and disparage Congress and their actions.

The Schiavo case has proven to be one of the most extensively litigated right-to-die cases in history. The beginnings of this case date back to May 1998 when Michael Schiavo petitioned to have his wife’s feeding tube removed.

Judge George Greer ordered Schiavo’s feeding tube to be removed on three separate occasions.

If the judge’s order would have been respected and deemed valid, Congress would have not stepped in, and Schiavo would have been put out of her misery long before this case blew out of proportion. In the end, the court decided that Congress had no right to step in.

On March 31, 2005, Shiavo passed away, only days after she had her feeding tube removed. There is far more dignity in peaceful death than in a life full of suffering, and in the end, the right decision was made, despite Congress’s persistence to become the hero of the story.
Whether or not the Schiavo case was used by politicians as an excuse to rally up voters, gain political sentiment, and gain brownie points, remains to be seen.

The twisted truth will prevail soon enough as politicians gear up for their campaigns. Time will tell if the Schiavo case will be used by conservatives as an alternative for expanding a pro-life agenda on topics such as abortion rights and judicial nominations.