Thursday, March 31

Among many, one Teresa Marie Schindler

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles and and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . ." - Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

I've read and heard things said about this day that many dreaded would come. Teresa Marie Schindler passed from this life into the life eternal this morning at approximately 9:00AM EST. (Again, in death as in life, I spare her the indignity of identification with anything Schiavo.) At the center of controversy for the last 7 years or so, she made an impact upon the world, all the while being oblivious to that mark. Though some experts claimed her "vegetative", I can't help but wonder what it was she experienced; what did she feel and what must her thoughts have been, especially in her waning days.

An unfortunate aside is that a statistically estimated 3000 abortions took place today as well, without as much notice. I mourn not for Teresa or for those aborted for they're reserved a place in glory. I mourn for the Schindler's, their friends and supporters, but most of all for our country.

Recalling the words of the Constitution and the Declaration reminds me of our purpose as a people set apart in the earth. Perhaps we will one day, once again, live up to the convictions of the founders, but for today I am ashamed by what we've allowed to happen. There have been arguments as to who is to blame for the tragedy of Terri's situation. Some accuse the courts, others, the Bush brothers, still others think Michael Schiavo and his lawyer, George Felos, are responsible. In truth, all of us share the blame. We are all responsible for Terri Schindler's death inasmuch as we are all responsible for the blood of the 40 million abortions in this land. We are responsible because of our self governance. "We the people..." begin the words of the Constitution and Terri Schindler was a member of that collective we sacrificed on the altar of convenience. Our government gets its "just powers" from the consent of the governed. The finger of blame points squarely at us. In the midst of the din of angry words exchanged, a simple truth is drowned out.

"The eternal difference between right and wrong does not fluctuate. It is immutable. And if the moral order does not change, then it imposes on us obligations toward God and man. Duty, then, requires the willingness to accept responsibility and to sacrifice one's desires to a higher law." --Patrick Henry

Saturday, March 26

For better or for worse

Evangelical Outpost brings up this piece concerning what's at stake in the Schiavo-Schindler debate. An exerpt...

Many well-meaning people mistakenly believe this issue is about the “right-to-die.” But at its core, the Schiavo case is not about bioethics, living wills, or medial choices. It’s about the failure to protect the institution of marriage.
From this perspective, Judge Greer did what he was supposed to do; settle the dispute between the parties, the husband and parents, regarding the life of Terri. In this I can understand how Judge Greer came to make his rulings.
Florida no-fault divorce laws, in part, have led them to this. How a man can start a new life with another woman, father two children, and still be regarded as another woman's legal guardian through marriage is astounding. His character should be called into question despite what the law reads.

Thursday, March 24

Leading the Way

A day of waiting upon God. Terri Schindler's 6th day of food starvation and a nation starving for righteousness.
Gabriel Keys (foreground) is arrested by police officers for trespassing in Pinellas Park, Florida, March 23, 2005. The young protester attempted to take a glass of water into the Woodside Hospice for the brain-damaged Terri [Schindler].

"And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them." - Isaiah 11:6

Some Need A Dose Of Reality

As I read an article by Dr. Caplan called The time has come to let Terri Schiavo die I thought there must be some mistake. Surely someone with such education couldn't be so obtuse.
Even the title to the article missed the point. Michael Schiavo isn't "letting" Terri die. He's taking away her sustenance and causing her to die.

Ever since the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed a respirator to be removed from Karen Ann Quinlan and the U.S. Supreme Court declared that feeding tubes are medical treatments just like respirators, heart-lung machines, dialysis and antibiotics, it has been crystal clear in U.S. law and medical ethics that those who cannot speak can have their feeding tubes stopped.
They can but must they? Why do so many seem to want her dead? One common argument is that this is the sort of treatment which would render a felony conviction to someone who starved an animal. It won't be long before some will conclude that "letting" a person die would be just as humane as putting down a lame horse.
...Michael Schiavo, despite all the hatred that is now directed against him, has the right to decide his wife’s fate. The decision about Terri’s life does not belong to the U.S. Congress, President Bush, Rep. Tom Delay of Texas, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida Legislature, clerics in Rome, self-proclaimed disability activists, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, conservative commentators, bioethicists or Terri’s parents. The decision is Michael’s and Michael’s alone.
Since when has so much authority over a person's life been given over to someone? I'll wager this doctor would be one of the very ones who would accuse others of playing god. Yet, this is a perfect example of vesting the power of God in a person.
Remember the recent debate about gay marriage and the sanctity of the bond between husband and wife? Nearly all of those now trying to push their views forward about what should be done with Terri Schiavo told us that marriage is a sacred trust between a man and a woman. Well, if that is what marriage means then it is very clear who should be making the medical decisions for Terri — her husband....
What about the sacred trust of marital fidelity? Michael Schiavo trampled upon that years ago by living with another woman and having two children by her. This is but one of the reasons why his intentions toward Terri are dubious.
So, it is clear that the time has come to let Terri die. Not because everyone who is brain damaged should be allowed to die. Not because her quality of life is too poor for anyone to think it meaningful to go on. Not even because she costs a lot of money to continue to care for. Simply because her husband who loves her and has stuck by her for more than 15 years says she would not want to live the way she is living.
Dr. Caplan, your paralipsis is showing. You really believe the brain damaged along with those whose "quality of life" falls short of the norm would benefit by being "allowed" to die. Her husband is of questionable character and if his current mistress knew what was good for her she'd run, not walk, away from the relationship. Has she drawn up a living will?

Wednesday, March 23

When a judge is more than a judge

A state judge issued an emergency order Wednesday to keep the Department of Children & Families from taking any action that would reconnect Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, asked Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer to issue the order Wednesday while the judge considers a request from DCF and Gov. Bush to take custody of Terri Schiavo. The request from DCF and the governor cited new allegations of neglect and challenges Schiavo’s diagnosis as being in a persistent vegetative state, based on the opinion of a neurologist working for the state.

Gov. Bush and Department of Children & Families Secretary Lucy Hadi argued they have statutory authority to intervene on behalf of Schiavo, who has been without nourishment since Friday afternoon. State officials said earlier they were considering removing Terri Schiavo from the hospice, by force if necessary, despite numerous court orders upholding the removal of the artificial nutrition tube that has kept her alive for 15 years.
If Judge Greer thinks so much of his authority that he can arbitrarily bar an agency of the state government from doing its work, why is it that Gov. Bush, or Pres. Bush for that matter, don't think enough of their authority to save a woman's life.

The Most Common Denominator

The debate climaxed when Congress passed legislation Monday that turned Schiavo’s case over to a federal court after a state judge in Florida ruled Friday that Schiavo’s tube can be removed. "It sounds to me this (woman), to certain conservatives, represents a rejection of utilitarian, market-based thinking," Boling said. "It will be a setback for people who believe life is a paramount value."

Although many conservatives might agree an intrusive government is a bad thing, Boling said what she’s seen in the Schiavo issue has resembled an intrusive government. "It’s gotten way out of hand," she said. "I find it odd and perplexing to see people with big placards saying ‘We love you, Terri,’ when they don’t even know the family."

Part of the central item fueling the debate has been the absence of a living will by Terri Schiavo, which Cheryl Strowl, patient care coordinator of St. Elizabeth’s Hospice, said would state whether Schiavo would want to be supported by artificial means. Strowl said St. Elizabeth’s Hospice does not encourage people to remove a feeding tube from patients, unless it causes more harm than it does good. "That has to be a conscious decision by the patient," she said. "It’s more of a quality of life for Terri between what the husband and her parents think. I think it opens the way for families not to be able to come to a consensus for what’s best for their loved one."
I agree that this represents more government intrusion. I don't agree with the idea of opening this to federal judicial review as the courts can't be relied upon to rule on the basis of the value of human life. I expect the 11th circuit and especially the SCOTUS to reject the appeal out of hand just as it was by the US district court in Florida. In my opinion, Gov. Bush properly bears the responsibility in this area. The Florida state constitution clearly espouses a "life" position and Florida state code, as I read it, gives him ample room to execute unilateral protections for Terri Schindler. But then whoever said human life was of any value other than what it contributes to the collective.

This is a real issue made plain by the Terri Schindler case, which is an issue I have with the Republican party. It should never have come to a rejection of "utilitarian, market-based thinking" because the issue of life isn't political. Oh sure, many Republicans, including some I know, will continue to champion members of congress, and especially Pres. Bush, as defenders of life and the principles thereof. They're looked upon as allies against abortion. But think about this. Terri Schindler isn't like the nameless, faceless consequences of abortion. She's a living, breathing, cognizant human being and the best Republicans would do is open the issue to judicial review. It was the judiciary which GAVE us abortion on demand. Politicians are failing us, leaving the hard choices to those immune from criticism. Yeah, it's government intrusion alright. Intrusion of the indifferent.

Pres. Bush made the claim that we should err on the side of life in such circumstances. The question, as I see it, is how big of an "err" are we willing to make. Many, it appears, have forgotten just what principles are and what value they have. Life is redefined to the most common denominator, usefulness rather than sanctity.

UPDATE: Just as I expected. Three judge panel rules against the Schindlers by 2-1. The Schindler family is left to go through the agonizing appeal process while those who have the power "weight the political fall out". Deo Vindice.

Sunday, March 20

The SAT

"The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."
- Thucydides

Every once in a while I read something like this by Thunder 6 and it gives me pause to think that our country is in good hands. An excellent post.

Thursday, March 17

One Life

Pres. Bush made the following statement as quoted in the Blogs For Terri website.

The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues. Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.

Essentially, I agree with the statement even though I think it could have been emphatic in its support for life. Words like "should" leave me wanting more. This is no time to equivocate.
The tide is turning and the fate of Ms. Schindler (I refuse to acknowledge her as having anything to do with a "Schiavo" last name. Her legal guardian is nothing but a heinous coward and that goes for Judge Greer and the ever dispicable lawyer Felos.) will be indicative of which direction the tide is moving. God help us all if the tide of His mercy flows out.

Tuesday, March 15

Plea

Help me, O God, in my hour of need.

Friday, March 11

Know Thyself

I know my cars and my cars know me. Oh yes, they know the cold touch of my hands on their fenders. They "see" me cradling a screwdriver about to loosen some bolt or clamp and begin the disassembly process to troubleshoot a problem. Sometime this weekend I'll replace a porportioning valve in the van and test drive that sucker again. Personal note: Special thanks go out to Dangerous Dan for his assistance in acquiring this seldom replaced, infernal piece of automotive engineering. And if it comes to breaking down again then my personal effects, as well as anything I can salvage off the piece of junk, will be removed and I'll walk away from it. It will never know my cold icy stare on a early winter's morning as I would challenge it to once again crank in spite of the temperature. If there were some convenient way to get all the VIN numbers removed I'd leave it by the side of the road for the auto-vultures to descend upon. In any event, perhaps this will finally bring to a close the long saga of "The Little Van That Wouldn't". Fixing it and keeping it that way for a few months would give me the time to replace it altogether.

It's almost incredible. I've done an entire clutch replacement, entire power steering replacement (complete with rack and pinion), and now I will have done an entire brake system replacement (sans the rear brake shoes which were just replaced last August). For the money I've spent on it in the last year I could've bought one of those marvels of modern motor technology. But then, I didn't have that much all at once. Torpy Syllogism Number 1: "Since money becomes available as work is produced to earn it resulting in less free time, and because free time is necessary for the consumption of said money, therefore money and free time are inversely proportional to each other."

Then, of course, there's the Nova. Ah, my mother's '78 Nova; by today's standards, a radically simple piece of automotive excellence from a bygone era. It has so little and yet so much. No power steering, no power brakes, no radio, no air conditioning, and an engine compartment that is so cavernously hollow compared to those of the more flashy, late model cars you can almost hear an echo. A throwback to simpler times. Knowing a car like that is so easy because there are not the contingencies of these modern, EPA riddled, rolling computers. If something breaks, you'll almost always know what it is instantly, although you may be stuck for awhile. The alternative is testing and troubleshooting for several hours just to discover it's some mindless logic board, "...that'll be $257.50, thank you very much."

The complexities of motor vehicles and modern living have something in common. People seem to think there are no clear cut, moral answers anymore. Time was, it seems, when everything moral, like TV's, was black and white. Shades of the gray complexities of life have crept into the pattern. Decades ago, if a car broke down it was a relatively simple matter to diagnose the problem and repair it. Seeing the problem for what it is, knowing what's wrong, wasn't so difficult. Knowing what's wrong with people these days isn't such an easy troubleshoot. I've heard it said that a car reflects the owner. If that's true then I must be in worse shape than I thought. Or maybe I just need an oil change.