Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Politics and Practicalities of Death

The Daily Beast
I am conflicted rather than absolute about the issue of suicide, assisted or not. I understand life can approach the intolerable. There's been more than one extended discussion since the asisted suicide of the young woman in Oregon, but my position that the state has no business in regulating suicide, assisted or not, remains unchanged.  

My main objection is the codification, which in turn places a societal judgment on who is and who is not to be considered as a candidate -- whose life is worthy of continuance. Codification of assisted suicide diminishes the value of certain lives. Codification of assisted suicide is the very apex of the proverbial slippery slope, as we see by the example of the Netherlands in particular where active euthanasia is being practiced. Any codification of assisted euthanasia cheapens my life because it codifies a value judgment on my life as a person who uses (depends upon) a wheelchair and a ventilator. Once the question of suicide moves into the public arena it becomes a political issue, which was young woman in Oregon intention. She made her death a political statement. That was her right.

A person can choose death when his or her life becomes unbearable. It need not be approved by some sort of law in the name of a so-called dignified ending of life. 

I, however, recognize that death is inevitable, and oftentimes ugly. There is an alternative, one that is reversible, if a person chooses death and then changes his or her mind. Such an alternative was written about in The Daily Beast under the (sensationalistic) title "The Nurse Coaching People THrough Death by Starvation."

That said, I am weary of all this discussion about the best way of dying: the issue we as a society should be concentrating on is how to live fully in a humane, democratic, and accessible society rather than how best to terminate the weak and the ill.




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