You can count on me to deliver the feel-good posts that leave you whistling a happy tune!
Progressive writer and blogger Kevin Drum has a big Mother Jones cover story on assisted suicide. He recounts some of the law and the politics, but it ultimately boils down to his personal story. You see, he has a form of cancer called multiple myeloma. Someday in the near future, if all of his therapies have failed, he may face the ultimate dilemma: endure the colossal pain and suffering of cancer to the bitter end, or find the means to check out early?
Jazz Shaw over at Hotair offered this response from the Right. He too is an older man with the possibility of a long, debilitating, terminal illness in his future — Alzheimer’s, in his case. (If you made me choose between the two — cancer or Alzheimer’s — I’d have to sit down and think about it.) He does nod at conservative principles such as keeping government out of it and the importance of faith. But at the end, he arrives at the same place as Drum. That is, if it comes to it, he wants that option open to him.
A lot of commenters, particularly at Hotair, were quick to offer moral condemnation and bandying about of the word “coward.” They presumably do not have the specter of any terminal diagnosis affecting them personally, and the easiest place to be morally righteous is in an anonymous internet comments section. Here’s the thing, though: you don’t need a diagnosis, or strong family history of some dread ailment, to be thinking about your end-of-life decisions. You could be 21 year old Olympic athlete — it doesn’t matter. It turns out that life has a 100% mortality rate, and believing you’ll be lucky enough to check out quickly and painlessly with a coronary in your sleep, or (as the old joke goes) napping peacefully while your passengers are screaming, is most likely wishful thinking.
When your time comes, when surgery is not an option, when the treatments no longer do anything, when not even pain meds take the edge off, would you like at least the option of choosing how and when you check out? Or would you prefer the government continue to withhold that option from you? Keep in mind that healthy you may have a drastically different opinion on assisted suicide than terminal you.
Here is my own take from last year. I personally want to keep the medical-industrial complex as far away from assisted suicide as is practically possible, lest they find a way to monetize assisted suicide (which they absolutely would). Insurance companies and giant hospital chains most assuredly do not have the patient’s best interests at heart. But that said, I do want options available. Quiet options, but nonetheless. A patient, and her doctor, should be able to come to their own answers to this ultimate of medical questions without interference from uncaring-at-best outside institutions.
Anyway, give Drum’s artice and Shaw’s response a read, assuming you can handle all the happiness and optimism.