Marlowe's Shade

Friday, February 18, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: Minding our Own Business

I've been meaning to comment on this post by Trudy Schuett which is by turns mystifying and infuriating.

I’ve kind of passed this one by because I deal with terrible stuff every day on the domestic violence front and I figure this one is not my business. What I’m thinking about here is the family with no idea how to deal with media suddenly needing to handle all that every day. I’m willing to bet nothing is normal for the family anymore, and some members will get sucked in, think they’re God’s gift to whatever, and soon be seen on some trash reality program.

If you remember that little girl in Texas who fell down the well, the whole community was damaged. Her parents divorced, the sheriff in charge ended up in therapy, and it was an eventual disaster for all involved. The whole town will never be the same.

When you’ve got a ton of attention focused on a handful of people with nothing much to do, suddenly the minute becomes movie material. Somebody farts and it’s cause for blogs and discussion around the world.

The mystifying part is that she claims to be a Christian and an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and there is no reason I can see to doubt this. What is infuriating is the cavalier tone that she uses to dismiss Terri's case. The arguments are neither well researched or well reasoned. What does a husband seeking every legal means to starve his wife to death have to do with an unfortunate little girl falling down a well? And the fart comment speaks for itself.

She goes on to say that she has a lot of experience with crises in hospitals and nursing homes and this may give us a clue to where Ms Schuett is coming from:

Even non-public individuals have well-meaning friends second-guessing everything, so often home is no respite, either, when we deal with the phone calls from those who “just know” how badly we’re handling things.

Does anyone else get the feeling that were are not discussing Terri anymore?

Then Ms Schuett tells us to move along, nothing to see here.

It’s not my intention to slam any of my blogging buds for expressing interest. Most of them will move on after expressing an interest, and/or an opinion. The problem I’m seeing is that there apparently are groups of bloggers forming, all with their opinion on this matter.

Good people, please try to understand this is not our business. While obviously family members have done their bit to put this situation in the public arena, they really had no idea what they were doing. People with no media training tend to think their problems will be magically solved by media attention. They do not understand that all you get from media attention is media attention.

As bloggers with a very real means of tracking public opinion, and influencing that same public voice, I implore each of you to allow this situation to devolve back to the place where it should be, as a situation involving a family and a local court jurisdiction. We do no one any service by placing the plight of a woman, who is seriously ill with family members in dispute over her care, into the public arena. It cannot be helpful for Terri herself.

I don't know if taking the trouble to familiarize herself with this case would have made a difference, because the picture she paints is so far from the facts of the case that she has already filled in the blanks from her own experiences, which she has projected onto Terri and her family, clueless pawns of the media that they are.

I won't comment on her charge of "slacktivism" because it is indefensible. I'm not in a position to judge Ms Truett's Christian works, or talk about mine or anyone else's. That's between ourselves and God. But it does bring up a point. It is easy for a Godly cause to very quickly go awry. Good deeds and intentions done in our own strength come from our flesh and have no eternal value. It's prudent to remind ourselves that God comes before any cause, and I welcome any correction from fellow Christians in this effort to save Terri's life. I confess I've spent time that was dedicated to prayer and meditation to trying to think of what to post that day. In my outrage I've probably said things in my flesh. And there is always the temptation to take the glory that belongs to God.

But as imperfect as we are God still prompts us to do his will. No matter how many times we've messed up His Spirit nudges us to say something to our neighbor, share the Word with a co-worker, give up the time we had planned to spend on ourselves to help out. The trick is to trust Him and not ourselves.
papijoe 7:06 AM