Tuesday, March 14, 2017

the ethics of a guilt-free mortality

Well, it finally happened.
Someone told me to my face, in a cafe, that my mother, with her family history of autoimmune disease (arthritis, Crohn's, colitis) shouldn't have had children at all. 
This acquaintance, whom I barely know except through vague work-related contacts and with whom I was talking about the current healthcare mess, said, "No offense, but you're in your fifties with Crohn's and you can't work full time anymore, but you're not going to die tomorrow either; so that makes you a drain on the rest of us. Why should our tax dollars keep people alive who can't really contribute anymore?" 
Yeah. Really. Someone I barely knew said that to my face over coffee, as casually as if we'd been talking about baseball stats. And when three people at nearby tables quietly nodded in agreement, I knew things had forever changed. 
We have entered a period of history where the lives of elderly, the weak and the sick are no longer sacred. We have entered a terrifying period of neo-Darwinism, and public policy will reflect that more and more. Because now it has been normalized in everyday speech. Once that happens there is no going back. 
I do not expect that there will be Social Security or Medicare by the time I qualify for either. I expect that I will need to live by my wits until I can't anymore, and then I will get sick and die. I have been staring down my mortality for a long time, and last week everything came out in the open and kicked it into high gear.
I thanked my acquaintance for the coffee, told him not to call me again, got up and left. 
I walked outside, and to my surprise, did not collapse into a pool of tears. Instead, I felt cleaner and clearer than i had in weeks.
I have decided to stop telling my story at official web sites.
The people in charge don't want to hear me, and don't care about me.
I am now reconfiguring my personal ethics so I can survive in a world where my elected officials don't give a flying #**k about me. 
And I am actually sleeping a lot better at night since all of this happened. Because I feel so much clearer now that the truth is out on both sides. I will got forward, with the ethics I can afford to have and not a shred of guilt.

5 comments:

Brian W. Ogilvie said...

Wow. I'd like to be able to say that I can't believe someone would say that, but unfortunately, it's all too believable. If it's any consolation, I find it unconscionable that one of the wealthiest societies in the history of the world doesn't provide a much more robust set of social services for those who need them, and who should be entitled to them. I would happily pay more taxes to provide them, though we could simply cut back on military spending. (Ha!)

alec scott said...

can I just say, WELL DONE? nobody needs narrow-minded "aquaintainces"... sadly, it's becoming a trend all over the world... :(

Louis said...

It breaks my heart to read things like this. Something tells me we had better get used to it for the next 4 or possibly (gasp) 8 years. My heart goes out to you, Beth.

Louis Pastor

Unknown said...

That thought is beyond cruel. It's been shocking how often we hear opinions that would never have been aired in polite society now being casually tossed about. But then, we're way beyond a polite society at this point. Good on you for having the courage to find clarity & direction from this incident. Best of luck.

doug peterson

Jay said...

I am so shocked and disappointed that conversation actually happened. Society has moved so far from care for its members. I really don't know what to say. I am glad you moved on and away. Stay well.