Friday, April 01, 2005

One More Lawsuit

by Rich Miles

April 1, 2005

I would imagine that Michael Schiavo is, amongst all his other feelings, hoping never to see another lawyer, or the inside of another courtroom, as long as he lives. His hopes will not be fulfilled, as the Schindler family and others seem determined to continue to "fight over the bones" in this matter.

However, if Michael could bring himself to one last act in the legal system, I would recommend that he file suit for defamation of character, libel, slander, whatever is most appropriate legally, against the shameless, grossly uninformed, politically motivated, self-serving group of self-righteous hypocrites who have dragged his name through the mud for weeks, months or years now, many of them people whose only knowledge of the matter was based on fifth-hand opinions, devoid of fact. I would think a short list of defendants in such a suit would certainly include Frank Pavone, Randall Terry, James Dobson, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist. All of these people, in the course of presenting themselves as protectors of Terri Schiavo (another person they've never met, nor even seen), have said shameful, demeaning and humiliating things about a man they never met, or if they have met him, never knew anything about his actions toward his wife other than what her mean-spirited, emotionally unbalanced family had to say about him.

But as is so often the case with the radical right, they will get away with their scurrilous behavior because it is more painful to the wronged parties to call them to task than to say simply, "Let it go".

Much has been said, and will continue to be said, about poor Terri Schiavo's life and death. She is at peace now, but her name will not be allowed to pass into obscurity - she will become the symbol for even more shameless posturing by radical ideologues, people who cannot even imagine, who WILL not imagine, the hell Michael Schiavo has lived through. Whether you believe Michael's statements or not - and frankly, considering the source of the nastiest criticisms about him, I do believe him - what cannot be denied is that he stood by her for 15 years, when it would have been so much easier to bail out long ago. It's not the money - that was mostly gone long ago, and whatever is left of it is in no way adequate compensation for what he's experienced. It's not that, after several years of waiting to see if Terri could ever recover, Michael decided to move on with his life by finding someone else to love and create a life with. It's that no one - NO ONE - who opposes him seems ever to have considered what he has been through.

All these folks who knew so little about the facts of the matter, crowing about their religious beliefs (THEIRS, as if any of this was about them), and how cruel Michael Schiavo was to Terri: did none of them ever for one minute apply the simple test of asking what they would have done if they had been faced with such a hideous set of choices? Does it not even register as inconsistent that the Schindlers and Michael were quite close for nearly 8 years after Terri's incapacity? If he is such a cruel and horrible person, and as is now being said, always has been even back to before Terri became ill, how did the Schindlers bear dealing with him all that time, until he proposed allowing her to die?

And one final question: how is what Tom DeLay did in his father's case so different from the Schiavo case? Other than the fact that DeLay SAYS it's different, I mean?

So much noise, so many accusations cast against a man so few could have known, and so little thought behind the slanders. One begins to suspect that this has become the American way. Our courageous Congress will show us if this is really true - and, I suspect, they will attempt to do so in very short order, before the smoke clears. Before the body is cold.

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