“I’m grateful to Santorum for forcing on me the discomfort of having to think about the moral implications of his daughter’s smile”

So concludes Time magazine writer Joe Klein of Santorum’s oft-vilified family choices. It’s a beautiful and moving tribute that bears repeating often. The whole piece is behind a paywall, but visit if you have a subscription. I might have to buy this copy once it hits newstands. Via NRO:

Rick and Karen decided to fight for Gabriel’s life, which nearly cost Karen her own, and they passionately embraced the child during his two hours on earth. They have spent the past three years caring for their daughter Isabella, whose genetic defect, trisomy 18, is an early-death sentence. “Almost 100% of trisomy 18 children are encouraged to be aborted,” Santorum told Schieffer.

I am haunted by the smiling photos I’ve seen of Isabella with her father and mother, brothers and sisters. No doubt she struggles through many of her days — she nearly died a few weeks ago — but she has also been granted three years of unconditional love and the ability to smile and bring joy. Her tenuous survival has given her family a deeper sense of how precious even the frailest of lives are.

All right, I can hear you saying, the Santorum family’s course may be admirable, but shouldn’t we have the right to make our own choices?

Yes, I suppose. But I also worry that we’ve become too averse to personal inconvenience as a society—that we’re less rigorous parents than we should be, that we’ve farmed out our responsibilities, especially for the disabled, to the state—and I’m grateful to Santorum for forcing on me the discomfort of having to think about the moral implications of his daughter’s smile.

The Santorums lead by example of what we should aspire to be as parents–fighters for our children, not executioners because “that kind of life” isn’t what we had planned. That’s what makes lives like Isabella’s all the more rare and special: they have the ability to make us see ourselves for what we really are. Joe Klein sees her radiant smile and realizes something incredibly important. Most don’t.

UPDATE: linked as a “Recommended Read” by Pundette. Thanks!

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8 Responses

  1. […] true. It reminds me of Joe Klein’s thanks to Santorum for forcing uncomfortable thoughts regarding our society’s position on […]

  2. […] “I’m grateful to Santorum for forcing on me the discomfort of having to think about the mora… […]

  3. This is Santorum’s gift to America. I truly don’t think he’d be a good leader for our country, but his run is a God-given moment to consider the important things. In a way, knowing his story might help Americans see that family is more important than politics.

    • Leila, I’m not sure he’d be the greatest leader, but given the rest of the lot, he’s got my vote. The only inevitable thing about Romney is disasterous for our country and conservatism as a whole.

      • pjMom, I’m holding out for a brokered convention until I know that I can’t have one. I believe there are leaders out there who don’t have the serious flaws of this lot.

      • Leila, I’m still pining for a brokered convention as well, but first don’t think Jeb is the answer. Or that Daniels would step in. All hemp would break loose and I’m not sure that would be the best answer either. I was a Perry girl and am still peeved about how it all went down.

  4. Stunning. Just gorgeous. Keep Smiling Gabriel, you are winning them over one smile at a time.

    • Sherry, I know. I keep reading and rereading this because it moves me greatly to have a man like Klein see this–to see Isabella and Gabriel–for what they both really mean.

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