Who among us doesn’t ache for all immediately touched by the tragic Terri Schiavo case? Having said that, if I were advising Michael Schiavo, I’d make a couple of suggestions. And they are, admittedly, designed to help carry the day in the court of public opinion. That may seem coldly calculating to some, but isn’t that why Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, went on Larry King?
To wit: “Michael, you can’t help looking drained and anxiety-ridden at this point. The ordeal has taken an obvious toll on you. But you don’t have to sound as cold as you do. So do this. Play up dignity and empathy and play down the obvious animus with the Schindlers. Frankly, something tells me you might not have been on the best of terms during the best of times.
“Try this: In any public forum, always, always include a preamble that acknowledges that you understand in a very visceral way the Schindlers’ position. Even though you adamantly oppose it.
“But do agree that any parent, given such traumatic circumstances, could understandably be driven to see what they want to see. After all, how emotionally wrenching must it be to gaze upon your own flesh and blood in such a state? And yet there is life.
“As a result, what parent wouldn’t want an infinite number of straws to grasp? Who, under such unfathomable stress, wouldn’t perceive possible signs of possibly meaningful cognition? Who, then, wouldn’t hold out for a miracle recovery? Parents can’t just go on with their lives after the natural order of life has been reversed.
“Then make your case, which you articulate well, for what you believe Terri would have wanted — given the nature of her well-documented ‘permanent vegetative state.’
“As you know, there is no happy ending. There is just the most merciful conclusion, one based on a humane preference that you — her husband and legal guardian — were privy to.
“Let others criticize the Schindlers and castigate the right-to-life crowd, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush. Be about Terri — but above the bashing.”