Thursday, March 31, 2005

Protect the Weak?

"The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life."

These were the words of our illustrious president. He used it in reference to the recent death of Terry Schiavo's death. Death is always sad when viewed as the antithesis of life, but i'll try and talk about this later, right now i want to focus on the idea of protecting the weak. Terry Schiavo has been in a coma for 15 years, over a 1/3 of her life, every year it costs upwards of $80,000 to keep her "alive". The issue isn't whether it is just to keep her alive or not, that is a decision that should be left up to her desire and if not availible then her husband's. Does her family have a say? Absolutely, but not at the expense of Terry's own wishes, which were not to be kept alive artificially. Yet, i digress. I don't think this should be a legal issue, but something that should be left to the family. My issue is with Protecting the weak.

"Protect the weak", we are a shining example of that. Many people have come out today and spoken about how its the government's job to protect the weak and those who rely on the mercy of others. Apparently, they are just talking about the people who are in comas or going to die soon because they aren't talking about the millions of people in this country without food, shelter or health care. Aren't these people also in need of protection? Why don't we care about providing them with the basic amenities that all people deserve? I've seen elderly people in their 60's and 70's in the streets of boston, without a home, money, food or health care, aren't these people in need of protection? They walk around without very much clothing in this freezing weather, its pathetic. The politicans and the country is split over an issue with a woman, who in all probability would not have come back to consciousness, but doesn't care about the millions of conscious people in the country who are without anything.

The reason this is an issue is because we like telling people how to life or die in this case. We want to tell people that Life is the only choice, when it might be more humane for death to be an option. Liberty and freedom is founded on the premise of choice, having two or more viable options. The conservatives in this country want to remove that, they have an idea of an ideal world and what society should be according to their values and seek to impose that on others thereby removing choice. How does this relate to those without food, shelter or medical care? Well, in these cases it is seen as if these people have brought this condition on themselves and its their own fault that they are in the situation they are in and no one needs to help them, especially the government. These people only affect us in a tangential way, meaning we see them and we avoid them. Whereas, in Schiavo's case, the possibility of us being in a coma is less but the impact might be seen as so much greater and its a situation that they see as being out of our control unlike being homeless and poor, which clearly is due to laziness. Just my two cents and rant.

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