Yesterday several bombs blasted in Brussels. Today a carillon rang out with the tune to John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Designed to bring hope and peace to a beleaguered city – in reality it serves just the opposite. John Lennon was just as the song says, a dreamer, one who lives apart from reality. No god “no heaven”, “no religion too”, “Nothing to kill or die for”, “no possessions”, “No need for greed or hunger”, by John Lennon’s own words – No Hope.
Over the past several decades this has become society’s mantra; “Imagine all the people Living for today…” Forget tomorrow, it doesn’t get any better. You are right and nobody has the right to tell you differently. They are the ones “wrong” about the way of life, wrong about God. This is your reality. “You have it all”. Except – you don’t and you know it but, there is nothing better, “that’s what the man says”(Paul McCartney), in other words there is “No Hope”.
Over the past several decades suicide rates in Canada have increased by 60% overall, but for some segments of society it is becoming epidemic. Why? There is “No Hope”. Attempted suicides have increased three fold and only by medical intervention has the actual suicide rate not gone higher. Most suicides have “attempted” several times before achieving death, suggesting a cry for help rather than a real wish to die. Has society, then failed these people? Failed to give them hope, something to live for? But society can’t and won’t counsel against its mantra.
Over the next several months Parliament is bound by the Supreme Court to pass a law on doctor assisted suicide. Call it what you prefer, Assisted Death,, Euthanasia, End of Life Law, it all amounts to the patient dying before the natural course of death. It all amounts to bringing on an end where there is no hope. When we consider the man who recently lost his job, his house, his wife and kids and has now drowning his sorrows in booze and thinks of suicide for his relief, is his life’s future all that different than the one who is terminally ill?
Where is the hope among Aboriginal people and communities where there are serious concerns about mental illness and social ills such as substance abuse, addiction, violence and suicide. European culture is an imposition to indigenous culture and imposes the loss of lifestyle and self-determination and is seen as a major cause of health and social problems within the indigenous population. What is the vision for hope among many Aboriginal youth? What is their future?
There is still much hope for the terminally ill – it is called Hospice. Doing all we as society can for the patient to bring a peaceful and comfortable end of life most often at home with family and friends. The problem with hospice, it costs money and therefore seen as an intrusion on society in general. “Can’t afford it” is the budgetary cry of all institutions. Assisted Death is the less expensive option. Most medical institutions and doctors have introduced the “Living Will” to protect themselves and suggested the patient voluntarily restrict ‘heroic’ medical measures in severe cases.
What does it say for our government to condone, to pass a law making legal the nu-natural end of life measures of Physician-assisted Suicide. Does it not say to members of society in distress, “Society expects you to do the right thing, end it” after all, as we have said all along – there is NO HOPE.