Friday, October 17, 2014

The Old Double Standard is Everywhere

The Double Standard
                   Here in America we seem to be all about making everything fair. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is our motto. It is almost an obsession with us to make sure that everyone is treated exactly alike, especially among those who have more liberal political views. This is why I am stunned by the comments I have heard the past month from some of my friends.
                   I am sure you all have heard of Brittany Maynard, the young woman (29) diagnosed with brain cancer and given just a short while to live. It is a sad situation. Here she is, newly married and at the beginning of a beautiful life, only to be told it will end all too soon. With nothing to look forward to but suffering and death, Brittany and her family have moved to Oregon in order to take advantage of their “Death with Dignity” law which allows licensed physicians to assist their patients with their suicides.
                   Many, many people are supportive of Brittany’s choice. She will suffer. She will die. She has nothing positive to look forward to. She should be allowed to choose to end her life early and avoid the suffering that is in her future. Those are the comments I am hearing. The thing I find interesting is the people who are saying these things. These are the same people that were beside themselves when Robin Williams chose to end his life early.
                   Here was a man who was suffering and had been for many years. He wasn’t just looking at suffering in his future but was actually living with it. He decided that he didn’t want to suffer anymore. He had reached his limit. He saw nothing in his life that made it worth continuing on. Why are you not as supportive of his decision? Is it because he was not suffering enough? Is it because the time that he should have had left on this Earth was longer? Who gets to decide these things?

                   How much suffering is required before you can kill yourself? Or is it just the expectation of future suffering? Does your suffering have to be physical? Could mental suffering be enough? How long does the natural life expectancy need to be? If you only have 3 months left to live, then it is okay to kill yourself? What about 6 months, a year? What is the line in the sand? Maybe it should be that intentionally killing yourself is NEVER the answer. After all, that is the message we have been trying so very hard to send all of these young people who are being bullied mercilessly. Let’s send them a consistent message and get rid of the double standard here.