Dear Sir or Madam:
I know it is too late to make a difference in the outcome of the legislation, but it is reprehensible that Republican lawmakers and the President are willing to interfere in the Terry Schiavo case.
First, their actions are unconstitutional because they are disrupting the normal state of judiciary affairs. Schiavo’s case has had due process by Florida state judges, and they have consistently found that Terry Schiavo has the right to die as she would have chosen, and that her husband Michael Schiavo is the only person legally responsible for making that decision. At least he was, until Congress and President Bush stepped in.
What of family values? They have abrogated the most solemn charges of the Schiavo’s marriage vows. What of smaller government and less interference in citizens’ personal lives? They have made it a convenient lie. And what of the “culture of life?” They have taken up Terry’s parent’s cause to assuage their far right supporters, while simultaneously pushing for changes to tort law (the likes of which would have made Terry’s care impossible), bankruptcy law (which would have prevented the Schiavo family from recovering from her massive medical bills), and reducing Medicaid (which takes care of many patients like Terry around the country). Furthermore, President Bush signed legislation while governor of Texas that forced cessation of treatment in futile cases in the instance of inability to pay (the so-called “Texas Futile Care Law”) – where was his precious “culture of life” then? Life, it seems, comes second to medical industry profits in Texas, where just last week a baby was taken off life support against the wishes of his mother.
This is political grandstanding of the most obvious kind. One can only hope that the federal judge required by this new legislation will see fit to permit Michael Schiavo the right to allow Terry to die, as all other judges who have seen this case have.
My respect for the Republican legislators behind this legislation and President Bush is at an all time low. They are, one and all, hypocrites of the first order. That many Democrats supported this bill — and that 178 members of the House did not bother showing up to vote at all — makes me reconsider my party membership and faith in the intentions of federal government altogether.
The implications of this Congressional move are overwhelming. Whenever Congress doesn’t like the result in a particular case, it could eventually swoop in and call a “do-over,” and if this law is declared valid, no decision in any state court in the country will be immune from Congressional second-guessing. This case is not one that falls under a “federal question.” Should the federal courts be used in this manner, they can also be used from the bottom up to redecide other family disputes such as divorce and child custody. The Schiavo case is tragic, yes, but does not belong in the federal courts.
One’s job as a member of mainstream media is to give fair coverage of this event. Strip away Tom DeLay’s moral condemnation of Michael Schiavo, strip away this case’s tenuous ties to the abortion debate, strip away the bogus “culture of life,” strip away the political grandstanding and opportunity grab, and one is left with a glaring example of Republican hypocrisy, one that undermines nearly everything for which the party claims to stand. The brave news outlet is the one that calls this case like it is: Terri Schiavo is a political pawn and this Congressional measure is unforgivably transparent.
For further information on the “federal question,” see Understanding The Federal Courts.
A full and compassionate look at the case is provided by Obsidian Wings.
Mahablog ties the case to an “Ownership Society.”
World O’ Crap looks into the marketing of this cause célèbre.
Amanda Marcotte poses that the publicity of this case would be unlikely to revolve around a man.
And Majikthise calls for a blogswarm, the reason for this post.
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