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April 4, 2005

Lessons Learned When Lives Are Lost

Topics: Commentary

From the pages of Life Matters! . . .

The lessons learned in the fight against euthanasia come at a very dear price, and if we ignore them the cost will be higher still.

A Saintly Salmagundi's Fr. Bryce Sibley has kindly called our attention to several media "textbooks" worthy of our review.

Wrong Questions Yield Wrong Answers

For all the attention we have paid to the Schiavo case, we have asked many of the wrong questions, living as we do on the playing field of modern liberalism. We have asked whether she is really in a persistent vegetative state, instead of reflecting on what we owe people in a persistent vegetative state. We have asked what she would have wanted as a competent person imagining herself in such a condition, instead of asking what we owe the person who is now with us, a person who can no longer speak for herself, a person entrusted to the care of her family and the protection of her society. –Eric Cohen, "How Liberalism Failed Terri Schiavo," The Weekly Standard, March 25, 2005.

The Most Dangerous Branch of Government

Alexander Hamilton's famous last words in The Federalist described the judiciary as the "least dangerous branch," because it had neither force nor will. Now the judiciary is the most dangerous branch. It doesn't need force because it has smoke and mirrors and a lot of people defending the moronic scribblings of any judge as the perfect efflorescence of "the rule of law." –Anne Coulter, "The emperor's new robes," March 31, 2005.

The Most Derilect Branch of Government

Despite the outward appearance of deliberation, what we witness now as an ongoing feature of the conduct of the judiciary at every level amounts to a judicial riot, in which judges and justices take it upon themselves to disregard the prerogatives of the other branches in order to assert an exclusive and tyrannical control of public standards and conduct....

But in a constitutional system based on checks and balances, one branch can run riot only if some other branch fails to exert the power necessary to constrain its actions within constitutional bounds. This means that the rise of judicial tyranny represents a failure elsewhere in the government....

In the end, the constraint of judicial abuse is especially the responsibility of the executive branch of government, since the executive has both the opportunity and the obligation to act without the interference of the judiciary, provided that in doing so he consults the political will of the legislative power.

Until and unless the people elected to wield executive power in our national and state governments recognize and act upon this responsibility, the judiciary will go unchecked, destroying the balance of power among the branches and with it our system of free, representative self-government. –Alan Keyes, "Judicial review and executive responsibility," March 28, 2005.

License to Kill: An Uncivil Liberty

While lawyers and judges have engaged in a minuet of death, the American Civil Liberties Union, which would be passionately criticizing state court decisions and demanding due process if Terri were a convict on death row, has shamefully served as co-counsel for her husband, Michael Schiavo, in his insistent desire to have her die.... As David Gibbs, the lawyer for Terri's parents, has pointed out, there has been a manifest need for a new federal, Fourteenth Amendment review of the case because Terri's death sentence has been based on seven years of "fatally flawed" state court findings—all based on the invincible neglect of elementary due process by Judge George Greer.

I will be returning to the legacy of Terri Schiavo in the weeks ahead because there will certainly be long-term reverberations from this case and its fracturing of the rule of law in the Florida courts and then the federal courts. –Nat Hentoff, "Terri Schiavo: Judicial Murder," The Village Voice, March 29, 2005.

And we, too, shall be return to it—again and again—in months and years to come

Posted by earl at April 4, 2005 11:21 PM

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What other forum is available to settle disputes, other than the courts? To me, it's not that the court is the one "they" (the opposition vying for control) choose, it is the one WE chose as a form of civilized government (verses a shoot out at ten paces downtown at dusk---which in many cases would be more fair). Yes, we should question this, why our court system is the only form of dispute resolution, find that it is not working satisfactorily, and design other methods, in my mind those that are not government run or controlled. However, in order for alternate conflict resolution methods to be effective our society as a whole must support them, otherwise the powerful would have no motivation for persuing resolution of disputes based on a system of negotiation, if they could still hope to prevail based on a power structured system of "justice". These are really my raw, (thoughtful) but unedited ideals. Our courts are however indispensable as part of an effective alternate dispute resolution system and as one of three branches of our system of government. Courts must, in any case, be reformed SOONER rather than later. These issues not only deserve but cry out for much more discussion. By the way, the problem with the courts is NOT that they are simply dispensing the law as they should, more accurately courts are dispensing injustice when to follow the law and the rules would do justice. Far too many judges in America rule on the power of the bench rather than on the facts and the law. If there was an appropriate forum available I would make this far more clear to the average citizen than Pat Robertson did in his book Courting Disaster.

All of this is not to say that we should not also change our laws when we find that existing law is either not useful or is harmful or is inadequate protection for our citizens, most especially when we find they do not safeguard the most vulnerable among us.

We can blame our government for its failures, but the failures of government are really a mirror image of our own failures. They are divided because we are divided. They are ineffective because we are ineffective in governing THEM. Our government in America is a reflection of us, her people. They are apathetic because WE are apathetic.

WE are responsible. I ask you to see that there is hope in that. And that in this difficult task, of reining in governments power and in taking responsibility for its action or inaction, that is fraught with obstacles and sacrifice what we must do above all is endure to the end. We must stick with this great commission until our trials become resolutions. We must.

Of course, much of what I'm talking about is centered on an educational process. That is because we must not only be prepared for changes in our society, it is the people who must create those changes, not the government. What you have seen happen here was a long, long time in the making. Those who have said they didn't hear about it until the end were just not paying attention to what is really important. We need to recognize that and own it. Those who have been advocating for reforms have been trying to wake up the rest of the country, at great personal risk, for decades. Join the debate, spread the word, give your time and resources. We are here to serve and to save as many as we possibly can. This is a great battle. Sacrifice yourself for the greatest good and we will see the changes in our lifetime.

Posted by: that woman at April 5, 2005 3:34 AM

My comment ended up on the post on "Black Caucus spit over Schiavo", but should have been here.

Posted by: Caryn at April 5, 2005 8:34 AM




Posted by: juleni at April 5, 2005 12:09 PM

Oh, here you are That Woman,

See my note under that article we were originally talking on. We need to get together somewhere and continue this. I am pleased to see that others have noticed what I noticed as per the above article.

I have also made other comments pertinent to how the system went wrong, which roused no interest, and unfortunately I dropped it. I would like very much to run that idea past you, as well, and see if we can do anything with it.

Anyone have any idea where and when we can meet?? My e-mail is tiptopd05@yahoo.com Thanks

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 5, 2005 1:14 PM

I would like to continue discussions here in an ongoing open forum.

I am committed to posting at least one post everyday, however I may be away from a computer and unable to post on occasion.

Posted by: that woman at April 5, 2005 1:32 PM

That woman,

i think we need to get together and find a time we can all be on and decide on an article we can do it under, then do it when and where we've decided on. This chasing around in Blogs is exhausting me.

So any one that is wondering what I am talking about, our comments are in the comments under Law makers Refocus as Pall Lifts. And if you think this avenue has merit just e-mail me at tiptopd05@yahoo.com and we will all make an appointment with each other. That includes you, too, J.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 5, 2005 3:41 PM

Just my thoughts:

Hmmm, I wonder if Blogs for Terri can facilitate this, by perhaps providing an ongoing discussion forum in addition to the daily entries. I think the daily entries are important to keep thoughts and ideas flowing and stimulate participation. It would be good to also have sort of a community forum where there can be more in depth discussion on various topics of interest, like an amateur (or not) think tank that allows the "community" to continue to discuss topics raised in daily entries.

I know nothing about website design or capability so I may be suggesting something that is not possible here.

The only other thing I can think of is for someone to do this on their own blog. However, I am inclined that this is not a good option because I feel that maintaining discussions in this forum is important, lest we get lost and also because of the importance of keeping this discussion (as in the main topic that brought us together) alive.

Posted by: that woman at April 5, 2005 4:17 PM

I often wonder about PVS (gosh I hate that word) versus the Electrodes in her Brain that was never operated out as per wishes by Micheal. If it was operated out to avoid Infection, Pressure, Hydropaelus and causes Cognitive Speech Impairment and Mobility. I keep on wondering if that is the case for labelling PVS when that gosh darn Electrodes left inside her Brain? If they knew it was in there, would they still call her PVS? Or just Brain Damage? I think it is a Brain Damage, Period, NOT PVS! It angers me that they did nothing to have it operated out in the first place, she would have been fine after that and with extensive therapy, then she would be with us Today. I don't know why Micheal said "Leave it in there", hoping she would die of Infection or its own Pressure? Come on! That is what we need to tackle with PVS versus the stuff in their Brain that was left behind. I don't know why the Doctors calls her PVS in the first place when the first diagnosis was her Electrodes. Oh here I am rambling on...thinking all "What If's".

Posted by: momforGod at April 5, 2005 7:33 PM