What Terri Schiavo Wanted

We’re told that poor Terri Schiavo could have avoided this great legal drama if only she had a “living will.” We’re also told that Schiavo became a mental vegetable when the blood supply to her brain was interrupted, because her heart stopped, as a result of her bulimia, the binge-and-purge eating disorder.

A living will tells physicians what a patient wants to have done in the event that she is terminally ill. Terri’s sleazy husband, Michael Schiavo, tells us that Terri wouldn’t want to live on like this, but, like most conservatives, I don’t believe sleazy husbands. After all, Terri was a bulimic, and bulimics are nut-cases. If Terri had a living will, this is how it would read:

“The Terri Schiavo Bulimic Living Will”

Let it be known that I, Terri Schiavo, being of sound mind and body, do hereby direct my physicians to place a feeding tube into my stomach.

Feed me, then take out the tube.

Starve me, then, put the tube back.

Feed me again. More this time. Now take the tube out again.

Starve me again. Put the tube back again.

Repeat until dead.


Terri Schiavo

It is a credit to the legal system that Terri can get just what she wants even without a living will.

Liberals think this case is all about the rule of law. Conservatives think the case is all about morality. Political cartoonists know the case is all about feeding tubes. Feeding tubes are funny. There have been lots of cartoons showing a tug of war, with liberals and conservatives tugging on a feeding tube. I drew Uncle Sam whipping himself with Terri’s feeding tube and the title, “Self Flagellation.”

Canadian cartoonist, “Tab,” draws a guy listening as the TV blares, “… surrounded by family and supporters while feebly clutching a feeding tube …” The guy watching TV responds, “I’m getting’ a little tired of Michael Jackson’s antics …”

Conservative Georgia cartoonist, Mike Lester, draws sleazy husband, Michael Schiavo, yanking out the feeding tube, exclaiming, “I would KILL to protect Terri’s right to die!”

Denver Post cartoonist, Mike Keefe, shows Saint Peter on the phone saying, “On the Terri Schiavo Matter, Sir, a Mr. Tom DeLay and company have appointed themselves to represent You …” God responds with thunder and lightening.

Florida cartoonist, Jeff Parker, draws a white, frozen judge with the caption, “Once given the power to play God by the Florida legislature, Jeb Bush intervenes in the Terri Schiavo case and then goes on to turn the courts into a pillar of salt.”

My favorite cartoon came from Mike Lane, who recently left a thirty-year job at the Baltimore Sun. Mike e-mailed me, asking if it would be OK to draw an elephant peeing. In his thirty years at the Sun, he was never allowed to draw an elephant peeing. Would we really dare to send a drawing of an elephant peeing to newspapers around the country? Would newspapers really print that?

I said, “Sure, what the heck?” Mike’s cartoon shows a Republican elephant peeing on the “Rule of Law.” I think it is the best cartoon of all.

Daryl Cagle is the political cartoonist for, the opinion site of The Washington Post. He is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to over eight hundred newspapers, including the paper you are reading

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post. For the past 35 years, Daryl has been one of America’s most prolific cartoonists.