I have always been blessed with the ability to see and understand both sides of various issues. One can select almost any hot-button topic, and I’ll be able to empathize with people who take each position—even if I disagree.
However, I am completely baffled by the modern-day “conservative” movement in the United States.
If someone believes in a smaller, less-intrusive government—traditionally a conservative value—I get it, even if I don’t agree with it. Meanwhile, if someone thinks the government should play a role in legislating do’s and don’ts when it comes to “moral” issues—like, say, LGBT rights or a woman’s right to choose—I can understand where that person’s coming from (even if I strongly disagree … and I most likely do).
I get lost and confused, however, when these two rather contradictory beliefs are melded together, as they are by a lot of so-called conservatives today. If you think the government should play a role in determining which couples can get a marriage license, and which ones can’t, yet you believe the government shouldn’t play a role in determining how far a company can go in terms of pollution and environmental damage—frankly, I think you’re intellectually dishonest.
This brings me to the story, published online last week, that serves as our January print-edition cover story.
I’ve had many discussions over the years with friend and regular Independent contributor Kevin Fitzgerald about his mother-in-law, Annette. She’d been battling cancer for many years, and had reached the point where she had mere months to live out a rather painful existence. This summer, she decided to look into California’s new End of Life Option Act—often referred to as the assisted-suicide law.
One of the issues Kevin touches upon is the fact that here in the Coachella Valley, it’s rather difficult for a dying individual to find assistance from the medical community when it comes to the End of Life Option Act: Not one of the three major hospitals participates in the law, and many of the valley’s doctors are prohibited from helping patients with the law by their employers.
Why? Kevin’s piece doesn’t address this question; watch the Independent for further coverage in the upcoming weeks and months. However I do know that opposition by some “conservatives” has played a role.
And you know what? I just don’t get it.
Happy New Year, and as always, thanks for reading. Oh, and be sure to pick up the January print edition, hitting newsstands this week.