We are too distracted from our real work as a nation

I had thought some reflection on Brittany Maynard might prove helpful. As a reminder, she publically stated that she would end her life on her own terms rather than have brain cancer take it from her. The case brought to mind Dr. Walter Russell Bowie who in 1961 was an avid supporter of the Euthanasia Society. This is not a new topic, but one so hot it is diligently avoided. I thought of the case of Karen Ann Quinian who lingered in a persistent vegetative state. John Ashcroft (later Attorney General under George W. Bush) was involved in a similar case, that of Nancy Cruzan, badly damaged in a car wreck in 1983. The court ordered removal of nutrition and hydration in the early ‘90’s. The hospital and the state attorney general (Ashcroft) opposed the request. Only after another trial were the feeding tubes removed and Nancy was released from her persistent vegetative state. Ashcroft’s Assemblies of God pedigree appears to have made him a “right to lifer” even when the patient was comatose. This does not include the cost of caring for patients in such a state which would appear to provide a conflict of interest to the health community. Big, tough issue!
But it seems that we have something more important than life or death going on in the United States. The current brouhaha involves House Speaker John Boehner over the proposed action of President Obama concerning immigration reform. The claim is that the President is damaging the governing process through his executive action. (Unsaid is the fact that Obama has used executive privilege fewer times that any president since Grover Cleveland.) This action is mudding the waters of government, although House Speaker Boehner has prevented hundreds of bills from reaching the floor of the House. One such bill was the Senate passed immigration bill which would have passed in an up/down vote according to many observers. Boehner prevented the bill to be considered, in effect vetoing the bill. The stagnation has been going on for a while and has made executive action necessary.
Just so we know the whole story, Boehner then filed suit against the Affordable Health Care law, supposedly the Obama gift to history. (Health care laws have been in the working since Harry S. Truman. The struggle to get the current law passed required so much compromise as to seriously hamper the law. GOP cooperation has been shown by over 40 attempts to repeal the law.)
One commentator following President Obama’s speech on immigration reform said he had no argument with the content only that it was going to mess up the process. Could the process get more messed up? Immigrants are getting a dose of gradualism like unto the Civil Rights movement.
We seem to have a faulty memory about many processes. Following 9/11, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales (Presidential Council and later Attorney General) and others in the Bush administration pushed through the USA Patriot Act. There went your Constitutional right to personal privacy. Section 215 allows the FBI to apply for an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to provide “any tangible thing” for investigation. That court has a poor record of guarding civil liberties and is apparently ignored. Currently, the GOP is very loud about wire tapping and the like – it seems as though your phone record is a “thing” for investigation.
These observations, many of which seem lost in our collective memory, portray a confused country in a confused world with a brooding darkness as we enter the coming season of Advent. The Collects for the Day during Advent sure fit our situation! 1. “Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life . . ..” 2. “Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and pre pare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins . . ..” 3. “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us . . ..” And, finally, 4. “Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation . . ..”
Now is the time to pray for a new heaven and a new earth – beginning in and with us.

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2 thoughts on “We are too distracted from our real work as a nation

  1. Those opposed to the Affordable Healthcare Act should talk with my daughter since the only coverage her daughter with major issues in mental health care can obtain some help.

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