So, if you're like me, you're pissing yourself in rage and fear after Congress' little midnight session last night, where they decided that scoring points with the pro-life lobby was more important than respecting the jurisdiction of the courts of the state of Florida. And, if you're like me, you fired off a letter to your Congressman.
I am appalled at the recent steps taken by the Senate and the House of Representatives regarding the Terry Schiavo case. I certainly hope that, as my representative in Congress, you did not take part in this shameful abuse of the Constitution.
Leaving aside matters of morality, Congress grossly misused its power in seizing jurisdiction over the Schiavo case and placing it in the federal courts. There is no legal justification for taking such a step. Congress (and, by virtue of his signature, the President) has stated that the federal government (not the court system, but the legislative and executive branches of the government) may take steps to reverse a decision made by the state courts if they disagree with that decision on moral grounds, regardless of legal jurisdiction. This strips all power from the courts to adjudicate matters between individuals, both sensitive and routine.
Furthermore, Congress has taken sides in a personal, family issue, and called into question Michael Schiavo's legal rights as a spouse, simply because they disagree with how he exercises those rights. Not only is separation of powers under assault, but also individual freedom.
What appals me the most is that this abuse was done in my name. I am a citizen of the United States. My Congress represents me, along with 290,000,000 other people. Their actions are, however indirectly, my responsibility. I am guilty by association of this reprehensible crime against my own country.
Like hell I am. This outrage must not stand. It will not stand. If my respect for my country, for the ideals it purports to champion, is to survive, this law must be challenged and struck down. I disavow the actions my Congress has taken without my consent or approval, and in flagrant violation of their oaths of office.
Regardless of your involvement (or lack thereof) in this affair, I urge you, Mr. Engel, as my Representative in Congress, to make clear to your fellows how appalled I, and thousands of other Americans, am at their actions, their lack of propriety, and their cynical exploitation of a family's private pain to build political capital. You are my mouth, and I must scream.