Saturday, March 26, 2005

Living Will Protection and Next of Kin Restoration Act

It's all Schiavo all the time, isn't it?

I understand those who say that the Democratic Party should remain above the fray with respect to Terri Schiavo, either because they consider comment unseemly or counterproductive. The former may be right, but the latter are certainly wrong.

America is terrified. They've watched the Schiavo drama with horror, and they're desperate not to become the next episode in a sick, wingnut morality play. They've informed their next of kin of their wishes; they've signed living wills to confirm them. But given the Schiavo spectacle, I suspect they're still afraid: they're afraid that no matter what they've said, and no matter what they've signed, the government, if in thrall of the far right, will not respect their wishes.

They need to know that it will. The Democratic Party needs to tell them that it will. The Democratic Party needs to show them how.

We need to call upon Democratic elected officials everywhere to do all in their power to ensure that the government will recognize and respect the end of life wishes of every American. These Democrats need to propose laws, amendments, and initiatives to ensure that our will is honored. They need to expose those legislators that would substute the demands of the mob for the will of the patient. They need to give us the power to protect ourselves.

We need the "Living Will Protection and Next of Kin Restoration Act."

I'm no legislator, so I won't pretend to write it. But once it is written, I do know what it should mean: it should mean that if you have signed a living will, it should speak for you; if you have given a loved one power of attorney, they should speak for you; and if you have done neither, your next of kin should speak for you. And when they speak, the government should respect what they say. Your loved ones should not have to fight the likes of Jeb Bush, Bill Frist, and Tom Delay, who pervert the law, exploit the greiving, and abuse the dying; they should not have to wait years before your will is done. The end should be swift, just, and compassionate.

Now, I know that much of this is law. But so is the Defense of Marriage Act. That didn't stop the Federal Marriage Amendment; and current law shouldn't stop this, either. From the Schiavo circus, it seems evident that this area of law demands clarification.

The Republican Party won't do so. The Republican Party has wrought this disaster, and they have brought America to this crisis. Because of them, America cries out for leadership. We must call upon the Democratic Party must provide it.