I HAVE NEVER ENDORSED a political party. As someone who doesn’t vote – because of my job and because I believe compulsory voting is undemocratic -- that would be pretty presumptuous.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enthusastically support some of the policies of some of the parties. Especially the minor ones.
With the majors, in the upcoming Victorian election, I am not keen on either leader. I thought Napthine was a stop gap premier while they found someone else – after the sudden departure of Do Nothing Ted -- and I’m not comfortable with Daniel (‘Call me Dan even though my wife doesn’t’) Andrews and his grubby CMFEU connections.
Also not comfortable with his crippling vow to tear up legitimate government contracts over EastLink and his moral backflips over Geoff Shaw.
On the minor parties, and importantly, there’s a swag of them in this month’s lineup, I have already appeared on the same stage as a candidate for the Animal Justice Party at the Oscar’s Law rally on Parliament House steps.
And, in the next few days, I’ll be appearing at the launch of the campaign by the fledgling Voluntary Euthanasia Party.
Won’t be telling you to vote for them but will ask you to listen to them and also keep their main policies in mind when handing out your preferences.
amazing young woman
Ask your political candidates where they stand on the issue of dying with dignity. Ask them if they have ever heard of an amazing young woman named Brittany Maynard.
She is the young American woman who took her own life this week after being diagnosed back in April with an inoperable brain tumour. (A tumour had been removed but returned in two months.)
Brittany, a beautiful, courageous 29-year-old, decided to end her life in her own time and place after she and her family moved to Oregon so she could legally use life-ending drugs -- an event made possible by that state’s compassionate Death With Dignity Act.
With Dan, her husband of two years, her mother and her stepfather, Brittany transplanted from San Francisco so she could access the life-ending medication doctors prescribe to certain terminally ill patients.
Her case went viral on the internet after she did an editorial for CNN in which she said:
‘I considered passing away in hospice care at my San Francisco Bay area home. But even with palliative medication, I could develop potentially morphine-resistant pain and suffer personality changes and verbal, cognitive and motor loss of virtually any kind’.
‘Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind. I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that.
‘I don't want to die,’ she said in a TV interview where she described ‘bone-splitting headaches, seizures and moments when I'm looking at my husband's face and I can't think of his name’.
my terminal illness
In a final goodbye on Facebook, Brittany wrote: ‘Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me... but would have taken so much more.
‘The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type.... Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!’
The Vatican, in touch as ever these days (not) chimed in with its condemnation, describing assisted suicide as ‘an absurdity’.
The head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, pontificated: ‘Brittany Maynard’s gesture is in itself to be condemned, but what happened in her conscience is not for us to know. This woman [took her own life] thinking she would die with dignity, but this is the error: Suicide is not a good thing. It is a bad thing, because it is saying no to life and to everything it means with respect to our mission in the world and towards those around us’.
He obviously hadn’t even walked half a mile in Brittany’s shoes.
As I write this, as lot of young women Brittany’s age are heading off to Oaks Day at Flemington, and I think: They shoot horses, don’t they?
We’ll put a stricken equine out of its misery, but politicians, like bible-bashing Kevin Andrews, prevent us from legally ending our own terminal pain. Dying with dignity,
Whose life is it, anyway?