The National Guard Option

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In the grimy world of politics a million consciences have been bought and sold without anyone noticing. But in the providence of God, there are occasional moments when a crisis of conscience comes for someone, and it all happens under the spotlight. At that moment the entire nation goes silent to watch what the decision will be. In this case, such a moment has come for Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida.

The governor seems a decent sort, who genuinely does not want Terri Schiavo to die of starvation. But “wants and desires” admit of degrees. How much does he “not want it?” He needs to want Terri not to starve enough that he is willing to throw away any chance he might have at the presidency.

In my view, now that all legal and constitutional appeals have been exhausted (not to mention a few unconstitutional appeals, but more on that in a moment), the authorities in Florida will not in able to say, “Well, we did everything we could do, and now we just have to let her die.” They have not yet done everything they can do. Governor Bush now has a moral responsibility to send the National Guard to the hospital and have Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reattached.

I mentioned the unconstitutional appeals. We are so consumed with legalities and the appearance of legality that we were willing to have Congress intervene in a manner that was constitutionally dubious at best. It was well-intentioned and done in the interests of saving Terri’s life, but the same end could have been done without galloping roughshod over the principles of federalism. All this to say that Jeb Bush ought to have sent the National Guard in long before this eleventh hour cliffhanger moment.

If he wants Terri to live strongly enough to throw away the presidency through a decisive, humanitarian, and constitutional action such as this, he would probably discover that the only people who should be trusted with the office of the presidency are those who are willing to walk away from it as a matter of principle. There are so many cameras down there right now, it might seem like idle advice to say that he should forget them. But he should. Forget the media circus. Forget the talking heads on television. Forget the black robed vultures who want to help an abusive husband get rid of a troublesome wife (with feminists offering polite golf applause in the background). Forget all that.

Life is simple. Or it will be if Jeb Bush acts soon enough.

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