Terri Schiavo’s case has put the principles of American government through its paces!
Congress had intervened earlier when it appeared that efforts by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others in the state to keep Schiavo alive were failing. The executive branch of government got involved, as well. President Bush rushed back from his Texas vacation to sign the bill that sent Schiavo’s case to the federal courts; an extraordinary action over one citizen’s fate.
Think about it for a minute. What else has the Government really accomplished of late? Then for the fate of ONE citizen they drop everything and pass legislation in a matter of days. Why can’t they do this with other issues? You know the ones they are actually suppossed to be passing? We voted the Republican Party into power to get things done! So get it done! Fight back against the Democrats any way you can! If you don’t the pendulum of power will swing to the other side.
The battle, like many public policy disputes, has been tangled in politics, emotions, religion and finger-pointing. But it has also been a display of of democracy at work.
Not a pretty sight, says Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University.
“It is in fact an object lesson on democracy; it just doesn’t happen to be a good lesson,” he said.
Congressional intervention, he said, flies in the face of the Founding Fathers’ intention to give most rights and powers to the states. “I believe that the framers would be horrified,” Turley said.
Even so, he allowed, “it is impressive to see judges holding such a uniform line against tremendous pressure from Congress.” Steven Gey, a professor of constitutional law at Florida State University, said it was as if “the Founding Fathers anticipated precisely this kind of situation.” “What you see is the legislature – both federal and state level – rushing into a situation where they don’t have adequate grasp of the facts or the law and then you see the courts doing things correctly, very deliberately going through the facts.”
For all of the criticism of Congress’ role, though, Tom Patterson, a professor of government at Harvard University, said Americans could well look at the case and reach the opposite conclusion about whether the system functioned properly in Schiavo’s case. “It’s a very painful decision that families make around the country daily,” Patterson said. “And in this case, it became political and therefore just out of that personal realm of family members and health providers trying to do the sensible thing.” He said the dispute was “part of the larger culture wars” and represented a joining of political opportunity and beliefs. The case has also exposed the limits of what politicians can do. The law passed by Congress did not change the outcome. Bush’s support for it did not make a difference. And in Florida, his brother Jeb Bush, the governor, was thwarted by a court when he tried to bring Schiavo under state protective custody. In a line that could be inserted straight in a civics textbook, the governor said: “I cannot go beyond what my powers are and I’m not going to do it.”
I have stated previously how much this case has affected me personally. I think this particular case has affected many people in this country in a very big way. I don’t know what the fallout is going to be when this is all over; but I know there will be fallout. My only hope is that it does not help the Democrat party in any way, shape or form. They cowardly hid under their desks watching this whole mess unfold. No matter what side of this debate you are on, they deserve nothing but our scorn.