As I sit here surrounded by various medical reports for my hairy beastie's recently discovered $%&# cancer while waiting on more test results and debating whether to subject her to chemo, I can't help but think about quality versus quantity of life. Our society prioritizes quantity. We demand that even those enduring great suffering with no hope of reprieve continue to exist to appease the conscience of others and to continue to pay the ever-hungry capitalist machine...even after we pass on. We, justifiably, fear our fellow man will kill us without our consent, thus we leave no space for exiting with dignity.
Yes, there are 9 states and DC with Aid-In-Dying laws for those who have a terminal illness with life expectancy not to exceed 6 months. If your terminal illness is a long-haul affair, too bad, so sad. Suck it up. But don't get addicted to the pain killers. Assuming you can pay for them. Better to be a burden on your family than to cause an inconvenient passing thought to a transient legislator. Waste away, would you? Quietly. But not in a place with a hot real estate market. Your decaying flesh bag isn't worth as much as the square footage occupied by your bed. Hang in there until your savings is spent and bankruptcy makes you inconvenient. Long-term hospice? You should've bought into the insurance plan for that. Too late now, though. You don't qualify. Don't you know a dignified death is only for those who can afford for it?
Quality of life, well, if we were to assert that as a priority, we'd break the institutions that blame the immigrant for "stealing jobs" instead of the CEO who suppresses wages to earn his multi-million dollar bonus. We'd break the system of education that teaches children to sit still, be quiet, pay attention, don't ask too many questions, don't make mistakes, don't dare fail, don't be the bent tine in the fork. Accept the scripture of process and precedent. Stay in your assigned lane. Be a good drone. We'd expose the fallacy that hard work earns just rewards. Money would no longer be king. The rules of power would be redefined and accessible to the masses.
My unpopular opinion is that humanity has a broken relationship with both the sanctity of life and the mercy of death. The desire for control drives the former, while the fear of losing it enables the latter. Both are wielded by unscrupulous powers to great cruelty. It'll take more than a social revolution to change that. Sadly.