Photo by Luigi Novi
The fact that assisted suicide is even a debate in our country has always outraged me. Now don’t get me wrong, America has done a lot right over the years. But on the subject of euthanasia, our government has failed time and time again to pass the ethical legislation society is entitled to. The simple fact is that terminally ill people deserve the right to die with dignity, on their own terms, at the exact moment and location that is right for them.
Allow me to paint you a picture. Imagine you have been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. You’re in an indescribable amount of pain all the time. Your abdomen throbs. You feel nauseated. You hardly have enough energy to smile when your family comes to visit you. You feel weaker and weaker every day, and the chances of living more then a few months are slim to none. You shouldn’t have to sit around decaying for weeks in a hospital bed, waiting for a miracle that will not happen. It’s your body, for Christ’s sake. You should be able to die humanely at a time that suits you and your loved ones, anywhere on the planet–be it in your own bed at home, at a Walmart parking lot, or in a glorious public display during halftime of a Broncos game.
Currently Oregon, Washington, and Vermont are the only states to have passed legislation allowing for physician-assisted suicide. It’s a start, Mr. Obama. But Oregon, really? If I ever get diagnosed with a terminal illness, I don’t want to have to die in fucking Oregon. I’m an American, dammit. I want to die somewhere cool, like Six Flags, or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Just think of all the neat places Americans have died. JFK died in a limousine for fuck’s sake. That’s awesome. Lincoln died in a theater, which is also pretty fucking cool. Then there were all those soldiers back in the 60’s who got to die in the exotic tropics of Vietnam. Not to mention the handful of people every year who get the rare experience of dying in an ocean, by the jaws of killer sharks. Those people must really know how to have a good time.
Look, the point is I’ve had a tough life and there are a lot of places I’d still like to see. Washington and Vermont aren’t such bad states, but I’ve visited them already, and they are far down on my list of places I’d want to return to. All I’m saying is that if I got Lou Gehrig’s disease tomorrow, I want to go and die somewhere half-decent, like a Dave & Buster’s, IHOP, or at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Really anywhere but Oregon. Americans deserve better than that.