Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why I Keep Writing About Terri Schiavo

In case you can't tell, the situation with Terri Schiavo has upset me greatly. Part of me still can't believe it's happening. I was ecstatic this morning when I woke to see that Senator Enzi had subpoenaed Terri to testify before his committee: surely, I thought, Judge Greer would abide by a Congressional subpoena, no matter how silly or groundless he thought it. Surely it is beyond the role of a state court judge to determine which Congressional investigations are meritorious or not, and beyond his power to simply ignore subpoenas issued in the course of non-worthy investigations.

And yet, not.

I went to Mass twice today. Both times, Father Confer offered the Mass for Terri Schiavo and her parents. The first time, during the noon Mass, I was filled with joy, and wanted to track Father down afterwards and ask if he'd heard the good news: a reprieve! Death forestalled a week perhaps as Congress tried to work out a permanent solution. I prayed for Terri's intentions, but they were long-term intentions - that one or another of the legislative solutions might work, that custody would pass to her parents, that with some therapy she might see some improvement. I thought, was quite convinced, that she was out of any short-term danger.

I labored in this happy delusion for much of the afternoon. I had lunch, then went to the library to do research for my Substantial (the paper I have to write if I want to be promoted to being a third-year law student). I put up an absurdly windy post about the new additions to my blogroll. When Justin Torres linked to a post of mine from Wednesday, I wrote him, cheerfully, to thank him for the link but to say that I was now quite optimistic that things would work out well. I even cracked a joke about my desire to haze him (he's my old boss) if he should wind up a Yale Law 1L next year.

And then I checked The Corner. Where I saw that the feeding tube had been removed.

Serves me right for being an optimist.

Anyway, nobody wants to hear the whole story of my day. Suffice it to say I went back to St Mary's for the 5:00 Mass, and prayed for the intentions of Terri Schiavo properly. And lit a candle before the Divine Infant of Prague. And wept.

I didn't know what to do. Fasting seemed appropriate - why should I be sated as she starves? - and the activity I'd planned for the evening, bowling with my friends, now seemed ludicrously unseemly. I thought it best to follow the story, so when I got home I turned on my computer and clicked around to some of the sites that had done the best job covering the story - The Corner, Dawn Patrol, Open Book - to see what was happening. And, quite without intending to, I found myself blogging, each new development a new post, until there were no more (nor will there be for a while; this death will be slow, and news slow with it).

I don't know why I blogged. (I don't know why I'm blogging now.) Maybe it's just ingrained habit at this point, the desire to translate my thoughts into pixels. Maybe it's a form of catharsis, superior at least to talking angrily to myself in my otherwise empty apartment. Maybe it's a way of raging against my own impotence - I may not be able to do anything, but I can not-remain-silent, I can scream to the heavens of the madness of the world, I can call evil by its name. And yet: my impotence remains. Gray as dusk. And everywhere.