Posted: 03/22/05 11:45, Edited: 04/01/05 06:04
by Jay H. Steele
District Judge James D. Whittemore has denied the parents of Terri Schiavo a temporary restraining order that would allowed them to have a feeding tube reinstated. For the moment the Constitution triumphs shameless politics. Appeals up the federal court chain are likely, but the result will likely be the same. The Supreme Court has already declined to get involved twice.
This case is a family tragedy and a political travesty. It is sad to see a family torn apart by conflict over what constitutes being "alive" and over who has the authority to make end-of-life decisions. If nothing else, it ought to prompt everyone to make sure they have the legal documents in place about end-of-life directives, and that everyone in the family knows what they are and where they are.
But a family tragedy has been shamelessly exploited by the Religious Right for political gain. Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ought to have his license to practice medicine either suspended or revoked. To say that he is speaking as a physician, as he did, and say that after watching an hour of video-tape he could make a diagnosis about Terri Schiavo's medical condition was a blatant breach of ethics. He has never examined her personally, he is not a neurologist, he has absolutely no business speaking as a medical expert. It was shameless political pandering.
Meanwhile Tom Delay must have been thanking his lucky stars for this opportunity to divert the American public's gaze away from his growing ethical quagmire. He jumped on the chance remind his rightwing followers that he might be dirty, but he can still deliver the goods.
George Bush has never before interrupted a vacation to come back to Washington. No international situation, no national tragedy, no bill moving through Congress has ever been important enough to keep him from chopping wood in Crawford. But this bill, to save one person, to trash the long legal process that the family has gone through, this bill brings him back.
Finally, let us not forget that Kline and Kennedy voted to pass this terrible bill. And, unfortunately, so did Dayton.