St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

With all laws flattened, where will we hide?

By HOWARD TROXLER
Published March 22, 2005


The end justifies the means.

When you have enough power, you can tell the courts to get lost, you can overrule the self-government of an entire state, you can obliterate the rule of law.

It does not matter that Florida's courts ruled that Terri Schiavo expressed the wish not to be kept alive artificially. We are entitled to ignore court rulings.

Neither does it matter that the doctors say that her brain has largely turned to fluid. We may dismiss these facts with a wave of the hand, or a sound bite on CNN.

Congress knows all. The federal government knows all. The strutting Tom DeLay and the unctuous Bill Frist know more than all the judges and doctors combined.

They are cynically armed with their internal memo about how many votes they are going to get out of the Christians. Some members of Congress speechified without knowing how to pronounce Terri Schiavo's name, or the most basic facts.

Tom DeLay's conduct is odious. He represents everything bad about Congress. His principal pastime is raising large amounts of money from wicked people in return for hurting the public good.

The notion that Tom DeLay of Texas is entitled to usurp Florida's rule of law with the claim of being morally superior is akin to Bill Clinton coming down to lecture us on marital fidelity.

On top of that, anyone in the way of these half-witted bombasts is a devil. It is not possible that Michael Schiavo might actually believe he is doing what Terri wanted - no. He is a murderer. It is not possible Judge George Greer actually made what he thought was the correct legal decision - he is "merciless."

If you are cheering because Congress acted in the midnight hour to "save" Terri, be sure of what you are cheering for.

You are applauding a Congress for throwing out the rulings of the courts, throwing out the due process of the states, and substituting its own will.

The difference between me and so-called "conservatives" is that when I say the power of government is a dangerous beast to be feared, I actually mean it.

Let me ask you a question.

Let's say that the next president is ... Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I know, I know. But just say.

Do you also believe that ol' Hil should have the power to wipe out the rulings of the courts and the states, with the wave of her magic wand?

No?

Then maybe you are clinging to a very foolish belief. Maybe you believe that the government will trample over the courts only when you agree. Well, good luck.

There was an Englishman named Thomas More. He is most famous for refusing to approve Henry VIII's divorce, and paying for his principles with his head.

In the play about More's life titled A Man for All Seasons , More debates a character named Roper, who wants to ignore the law to fight evil:

Roper: So now you'd give the devil the benefit of law?

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?

Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every tree in England to do that.

More: Oh, and when the last law was down and the devil turned 'round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, man's laws not God's, and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - do you really think that you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake.

For the sake of headlines and self-righteousness, the U.S. Congress waited until the final seconds of a yearslong, agonizing legal process to say that our law does not count. Many well-meaning people are cheering. And so one more tree falls.

* * *

My e-mail address is troxler@sptimes.com My telephone number is 727 893-8505. I will be delighted to hear and read anything intelligent you have to say about this case. Helpful hint: Personal insults or calling me "liberal" for opposing the power of government don't count.

[Last modified March 22, 2005, 01:20:07]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT