I want a nuanced debate about the end of life. I want to witness a national debate that addresses how we approach the end of life. No one wants a human being to die alone and in pain. Sadly, this happens all too often. In the ABC-CLIO Companion to the Disability Rights Movement Fred Pelka wrote disability rights advocates "insist that decisions about suicide, just like decisions about aborting a disabled fetus, should not be made based on stereotypes about the quality of life with a disability. Rather than fight for their right to die, they instead prefer to fight for their right to live with dignity and independence". This is exactly why I am upset about the Compassion and Choices video. They are utterly reliant on a disability archetype: disability is bad. People with a disability live a diminished life. People with a disability are suffering. People are dying in pain because of unbalanced bitter cripples like me. The result of this faulty line of reasoning is the below Compassion and Choices three and half minute "celebration" of the ADA.
Sara Myers and Dustin Hankinson are new. The names change but not the methods utilized by Compassion and Choices. How others fail to get this is a mystery to me. When I see a person with a disability or an elderly person with significant physical or cognitive deficits I think they are hard asses. Those people have a strong will. Life was likely not easy but they endured and I hope thrived. I imagine what their life is like. How did they adapt and what can they do? I only consider what people are they capable of doing and dismiss what cannot be done.
To end, as I move around my home I have found myself thinking about the buttons worn by assisted suicide advocates are ironic: "My Life, My Death, My Choice". My, my, my in triplicate. The word narcissistic springs to mind. Could it be people are that selfish? Could people desire autonomy and control that much? "Mine Mine Mine", the childhood refrain, has been repackaged by adults who are afraid of disability and death. I hope I am wrong for I believe all human beings lives have value. All people have the right to live. That includes a baby taking his or her first breath to the elderly person taking their last breath. Death is not a right it is physical inevitability. It is life that holds meaning.