Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo

The Republicans are turning our country into a banana republic. The essence of a democracy is the fact that all shall abide by the law. The Republicans, edged on by their fundamentalist Christian base are making laws, which seek to undermine the rule of law.

I’m talking about the Terri Schiavo case. In my opinion there is no right or wrong answer in this matter. Basically it’s a family matter. Terri Schiavo heart temporarily stopped beating fifteen years ago. This damaged her brain. According to doctors she is in a vegitative state.

I know this is a very emotional subject, but you must put it into perspective. Each day dozens of people are killed by drunk drivers. Each and every one of these cases is a dramatic moment in the relatives’ lives. For the rest of us these victims are statistics.

Once in a while one of these family matters becomes national news. It happens during an Amber Alert, when a child goes missing and it happened during my presidency with the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000.

The two cases are similar in many ways, because they both deal with a person, who can not make his or her own decision. In both cases the family had to decide. But which family member's opinion is more important?

Elian Gonzalez was a six year old boy, who survived a shipwreck that killed his mother, when they tried to flee Cuba. Elian’s father, who lived in Cuba wanted his son back. The boy’s Miami based relatives wanted him to stay in the US.

The courts decided that Elian Gonzalez had to be reunited with his father. The Republicans at the time, edged on by Miami based anti-Castro Cuban exiles, passed law after law, even declaring him a US citizen to keep the courts from making the final decision.

In the Elian Gonzalez case, I decided to do what our Constitution demands of me, enforce the laws of the land. I asked Elian’s father to come to the United States. He came here with his new wife, Elian’s parents were divorced and their newborn child. The father was asked in private whether he wanted to stay in America. He said no. He was asked the question again later. Again he said he wanted to go home to Cuba. In this case there is nothing else you can do but follow the court’s ruling. The father took Elian back to Cuba.

In this case we again have family members claiming to speak for a family member, in this case Terri Schiavo. The husband, Michael Schiavo claims his wife would’ve wanted her feeding tube removed. The parents Bob and Mary Schindler claim their daughter would rather live.

The husband seems to be a decent man and in our system, in which marriage is a sacred institution, his point of view would be paramount. This case went through the Florida courts during the past few years. The Florida courts ruled the feeding tube could be removed.

In response the Republicans are now creating new laws to overrule the courts. In other words, they want more courts to look at the issue in the hope that another court will decide in their and their conservative supporters’ favor.

This has nothing to do with trying to be human towards a woman, who might die soon. This is all about a group in congress subverting the rule of law by creating new laws.

They have done it once now, will they stop or do it again?

In my opinion this law, which congress created, will be deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme court. Congress can’t create laws specifically geared towards one person. The governor of Florida, Jeb Bush tried to enact a similar law pertaining to the same person some time ago, but it was deemed unconstitutional.

I tried hard, but I don’t have a point of view on this issue. Both husband and parents want what’s best for Terri Schiavo.

It’s a family matter, in which the Florida courts have the final word in my opinion. The rest of the nation should keep out of it. Especially politicians.