Monday, August 24, 2009

" Death Panels:" The Story Refuses to Die

Palin's words have been dismissed by some on the right as "debasing the debate " and "hysteria about hysteria ." From the left they've been declared "obscenity." The President himself claimed assertions of death panels "offends him," in his weekly address. Still, the story "refuses to die," as Howard Kurtz laments.

The "story" is not likely to die soon because Palin's words underscore a palpable fear in many about the Democratic efforts to overhaul the industry that represents 1/6th of our economy. There have been no concrete successes in the first eight months of the Obama administration to engender confidence reform would lead to anything more than massive spending and bigger government. The mid-session budget review is only likely to reaffirm those fears.

More troubling still, is the fear the party that embraces death over life can't be trusted to care for the lives of the weak aging and vulnerable in our society. Consider this editorial sent by a citizen to my local paper:
Common sense tells you the government isn't going to pay doctors to counsel patients relative to end-of-life decisions so that the doctors can convince them to use all available methods and expensive treatments to sustain their lives. No, even if the individual doctor doesn't intend it, those conversations will inevitably put the emphasis on accepting death and getting out of the way, so that scarce resources can be freed up for those whose immediate futures are not so dire.

Let's face it, a patient can right now go in and talk to his physician about these subjects and then make rational decisions based on the answers he gets. Once doctors start getting paid by the government to do this, how voluntary will these sessions become?

As for those who believe that the public will never accept euthanasia, I submit that we already have. Witness the Schaivo case (and probably similar ones we haven't heard about) where the patient's life was not being sustained by a ventilator; nonetheless, a court decided it was legal to starve and dehydrate her to death. That resolution seems to have been pretty much accepted by the general public, who I believe (and hope) didn't really understand the issues.

The fear is real. Try, as they may, blaming Sarah Palin for fear Democrats themselves have created, will not stick. Palin didn't create this fear; she named it and gave voice to it. Almost a year ago she hit the national stage and gave voice to some glaring flaws that are proving now to have been prophetic:
But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

As Winston Churchill once said, "The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."

HT/ Texas for Sarah Palin

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