Kevin Fobbs
Sarah Palin, tea parties, and death panels in 2010
By Kevin Fobbs
January 10, 2010

Sarah Palin, the numerous Tea party patriots, and last summer's warnings of potential unrepentant death panels taking hold of life-and-death medical decisions stirred up a nation and brought focus to one of the most important issues of our past decade. That is who determines our quality of life? What about at the last stage of our life or even at its beginning? Should it be the government, hospital staff, or anyone else beside ourselves? These issues must be addressed in the new decade as well.

For example, it has been nearly five years since Terri Schindler Schiavo, an innocent and helpless Florida woman was deprived of God's most precious and enduring gift that he could give us and that is the breath of life. Terri's father Robert Schindler — who sadly passed away last August — once told me that Terri is one of God's angels now. Perhaps the lesson of her life was to not only show us how we must appreciate life each and every day but to understand to what lengths those among our leadership will do to snatch it away creating incredible personal wreckage in its wake.

As the seconds of the past year counted down, did you think even for a moment in the silence of your thoughts as you lifted up your resolutions for God to embrace...did you ask him to save a life, preserve someone's health, restore a family member with cancer, or to cure someone of a debilitating disease so they are given a heavenly blessing?

Many of you probably did. And if so, it was a truly compassionate request and a wonderful acknowledgement of a loving God who would grant your request with such tender mercy. Now imagine you were Terri's family as they prayed and prayed to a loving God for such tender mercies to be bestowed upon their loved one, and yet the state and the medical establishment intervened with their own "death panels" and snatched a gift that is in God's domain and trampled upon it.

So you can see the angst that many in the Tea Party movement last summer might have had with the possibility of the government taking over health care decisions regarding the quality of our lives and who deserves to live or die (and when this will happen!) A "death panel" by any other name might still well be a potential life-stripping bureaucracy.

The new year is but a launching pad for the decade that must surely represent the stepping stones that we each must face in our own individual lives to take ownership of an issue that could meet us one day on that same pathway that Terri Schiavo and her family had to face.

Today take a moment and write the name of your loved ones on a sheet of paper or put it in your computer email and send it back to yourself. In the subject line just simply write, "I will stand for you and by you." It is a simple pledge that you make to yourself as Christ made a simple pledge to do the same for you before his ascension. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20

These may seem like simple words but they carry such an impactful meaning. If there had only been more Americans who had not allowed themselves to be unconcerned or disconnected to Terri's plight because they felt, "It won't happen to me or to my daughter, wife, mother, or son. If you visit the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation site:,

you will see there are countless innocents like Terri facing the same unconcerned and unloving outsiders who want to make decisions about our lives and those of our loved ones.

So perhaps now is the time for Right-to-Life to meet the American Tea Party with an understanding or appreciation of how important it is to say just a simple word.


Stop making decisions that will take away our right to a second, third, or fourth opinion, if it is necessary. Stop under-appreciating the life of a person by assigning a "one-size-fits-all quality of life measurement." Stop deciding that life is something pursued only until it becomes a difficulty for a family member who tires of caring, or a medical system and a government that says that "we don't want you to live because we don't want to afford it."

There are those who still attack or harangue Tea party Americans because they believe Americans should have a right to a medical system that has integrity that is not stolen or maimed under a thin guise of reform

This country's foundation was built by the fortitude of fearless Americans who were not docile, who were not tamed, who were not elite enough to believe that our freedom to speak, to debate, to stand up, to legislate from the community centers, the school auditoriums, or the radio microphones should be abandoned or toned down because using their constitutional rights is a political inconvenience for some. Not this time, this year, or this decade. Speech to support life is guaranteed by the signers of the Constitution and voted into existence by "We the People."

So in this new decade let us stand up and take back the right to protect life by not allowing or be willing to permit the undoing of those basic freedoms and right to life that we hold dear.

If a Sarah Palin wants to stand firm in her belief to promote the idea that "death panels" may be skulking around the medical bureaucracy corner and therefore "let us be on the watch," then let's not admonish her or dismiss her because a 1,000 plus page congressional bill — largely unread by most of those in congress voting for it — says that it is not true.

This year is an election year and this is an election decade where we must not so much measure others in leadership to do the right thing, but we must measure ourselves against a higher standard and that is one given to us from God to stand up and fight at the ballot box for the right to life. "Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote," Isaiah 29:13

So in 2010 and beyond if we need to have more Tea parties or more people like Sarah Palin standing up and going rogue, then so be it because it is not just an election or control of congress or the presidency that hangs in the balance but it is whether or not our children, our grandchildren, and our nation's future are put on life support until a medical panel decides the time and place when they will pull the plug.

Only God has that power.

Help the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation:, make this the decade of life beginning with Terri's Day 2010, which will be observed each year on March 31, the anniversary of her death.

Stand up and stand strong!

© Kevin Fobbs


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Kevin Fobbs

Kevin Fobbs is founder and president of a policy organization called National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), that supports conservative colorblind solutions to universal issues and domestic policies that impact urban America... (more)


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