How We Will Fight Not to Die in Vermont

Editor’s note. This appeared yesterday on the blog of True Dignity: Vermont Citizens Against Assisted Suicide.

We are about to be subjected to multiple HBO screenings of a film called “How to Die in Oregon” that won the prize for best documentary at the Sundance Film festival this year in spite (or perhaps because?) of being a transparent ad for assisted suicide.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin

Yesterday, a pro-assisted-suicide Vermont website, www.vtdigger.com, ran a video clip that shows our governor [Peter Shumlin] speaking after a showing of the film, insisting once again that he hopes to sign a bill legalizing it during this legislative biennium. The governor notes that Shap Smith, the Speaker of the Vermont House, is in the audience and supports the bill.  Here we have another clear warning that we cannot afford to lose our focus or will to fight during the legislative recess.

We were offended by the governor’s filmed jokes about how his apparently healthy but aged parents haven’t responded as he would have liked to his attempts to have “the conversation” to plan for their dying (in the video the audience laughs when he says he asked where they planned to be in ten years).

The governor is right that everyone needs to have a conversation about how we want to die.  We need, however, to fight against the seduction of his not so soothing words about how Vermonters “take care of each other”, when he speaks words like these in the context of a conversation about assisted suicide.

We need to continue our conversation with him, making sure we don’t allow him to avoid it.  We need to keep on telling him that

Vermonters want real care for aging and dying people, who should never be subjected to a discussion of the time, place and means for them to commit suicide!

On the website of  the disability rights group “Not Dead Yet”, there is an excellent commentary on “How to Die in Oregon,” including some excerpts from a review by a critic who has seen through its bias and refused to be taken in.  Here’s the link.

We like the closing line of the “Not Dead Yet’s piece:  “Unfortunately, thinking people were in short supply when it came to judging documentaries at Sundance this year.”

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