Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ramblings on the Terri Schiavo story

There has been much discussion as to the legal authority of the governor’s office to act in the Terri Schiavo case. Seasoned legal minds disagree on this subject and this more than anything else has seemed to constrain the governor during the last two weeks.

Now on her 12th day without food or water, Terri’s story has galvanized the nation and prompted many to re-examine the purpose and function of government, even as they consider the plight of the disabled and the vulnerable. This is not a story that follows the typical fault lines of political wrangling, although the mainstream media for the most part has taken a “let her die” attitude. And one must wonder what thoughts the various appellate judges had as they turned down the frantic appeals to them to save her from dehydration.
Today Jesse Jackson called for her to be fed and hydrated. "I feel so passionate about this injustice being done, how unnecessary it is to deny her a feeding tube, water, not even ice to be used for her parched lips," he said. "This is a moral issue and it transcends politics and family disputes."
This morning’s column in the Village Voice by Nat Hentoff called what is happening to Terri Schiavo, “judicial murder.” Hentoff blamed the media for her present condition along with the people who would just soon see the disabled go away and die.

Peggy Noonan and countless others have asked the serious questions about how this could happen. Their comments along with the thousands of bloggers who have written their thoughts in cyberspace witness to a hope that there are those with a real concern for this judicial tyranny. Perhaps if our Congress has not lost its nerve, this event may be the rallying cry to stop the courts from becoming the philosopher-kings from Mt. Olympus.

At the same time one asks that do their fervent pleas to protect this defenseless human being combined with the cold calloused denial of water to a thirty woman and its acceptance by so many mean that we are finally seeing the face of death move from the shadows into the public square. Are we about to further engage the enemy of life on another front?

Suffice it to say that unless this nation confronts the evil that demeans and denigrates the value of the human person, unless we stop the slaughter of the unborn, unless we truly reach out and care for the least of these our brothers and sisters, whether healthy or disabled, and unless we stop the courts from claiming the right to kill the innocent, we are not long to live in real freedom. It will be as illusory as the shadows as twilight, there but for a moment – then darkness.

Let not this be our lot. Pray for deliverance. Then act consistent with the birthright
of a free people. Contact the governor. Contact the Florida Senate. Tell them that we, the people do not want government to sanction her death. Tell them to impeach the judge, complain to the council on judicial ethics, and ask that he be removed from office. Ask Governor Bush to use his executive power to protect a human being from a court-sanctioned death. I know you have heard this before. But please one more time for the sake of a brain damaged disabled woman, make that call and then commit to be involved in the cause of life. For if you do not engage the enemy, who will?


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