Two articles caught my attention this morning. One was a guest opinion in the Spokesman entitled We'll live to regret suicide initiative ; the other was a poll in the magazine section regarding whether the government should pass laws to fight obesity.
As to the first, Washington state has recently legalized physician assisted suicide similar to what has long been legal in Oregon. I prefer calling it death with dignity. It eases the more tawdry implications, while being a better indicator of it's true purpose.
The writer feels this is the first step toward a convenient way of killing one another when death may or may not be imminent even though the medical opinion may so state. He uses himself as a case in point. He had been given the six month prognosis back in November 2005 and has lived to write this column.
As I read his thoughts I was thinking of the power Hub and I are holding over our dog's life. One day, probably in the not too distant future, we will have to make the decision if it's time to let him go. We've done it five times before and it never gets any easier. You ask yourself if you have the right to make that decision and you agonize over the timing.
One of the writer's points is that this legislation will eliminate trusting in God to determine the course. I have some problems with that thinking. I will concede, not having read the legislation, that he may have some valid points in pointing out weaknesses in the details. I look at the issue from a broader perspective.
First, just because the legislation is in place does not mean anyone has to utilize it. If you'd rather take your chances, go for it!
On the other hand, when one is in such severe discomfort that it's being considered in the first place, I, at least would like to have the option.
Those of you who are long time readers know I had a friend in Oregon who exercised the option. She was not weak, nor was she coerced. She was just plain exhausted from fighting constant pain and no hope. What course would God have chosen for her? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Who's to know. She was at peace with her decision as was her family. Those of us left behind are the ones who struggled with it. The question foremost in our minds was could we make that decision for ourselves. There may well come a point where many of us might want that option.
We ask the same about Bacchus. We've already decided we will not take extraordinary measures again. We did it at the onset to keep him with us awhile longer, but he's an old dog who has had a good life. We'd choose not to have him suffer more extreme trauma for our own selfish desire to have him with us for what we know will be a short time at best.
If we can do this for a beloved pet, why not people? I'd like to think, and I believe statistics from Oregon would bear me out, abuse has been rare if at all. Fearing all the "what ifs" does little but upset for unsubstantiated reasons.
This ties into the point, too, that we are dealing with adult human beings here who should be allowed to make decisions for themselves to leave this world with dignity and without pain.
It also ties into the poll about government legislating the fight against obesity. While death with dignity, with the proper, enforceable safeguards in place, is good legislation, trying to legislate obesity is big brotherism several steps too far. Again, we're dealing with human beings here. We may make the wrong choices for ourselves but to legislate removal of that right could lead to an expansion of government in our lives that would strip us of everything that makes living livable.
The worst part about government intervention in our lives is the government itself - made up of humans that supposedly have the ability to think things through and make good decisions. Look at them at work today. Is there any one of them that can make the decision for you better than you can make it for yourself? I won't even ask you to look at how many of those law makers are obese by today's medical standards.
So there is good legislation and bad, too much government intrusion versus some long overdue. The safety net, I would suggest, is the people we put into office to make those decisions. There are times we do a pretty poor job of "vetting" them!