Yesterday (September 23, 2012) Massachusetts Senate Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Warren, gave an hour long interview to radio station WTTK-FM. During the interview she touched on many different subjects, including the legalization of marijuana and physician assisted suicide. It's strange to think that I now live in an America in which of those two topics, physician assisted suicide is the more controversial.
Candidate Brown gave mild approval to legalizing marijuana, but with many caveats. She said it should be a prescription medication, subject to the same restrictions as other prescription medications. Ok, I suppose that is in the category of one step forward and two steps sideways. Based on the latest polls, a majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana. The extent to which it should be legalized is still subject to a great deal of debate. It is difficult to come up with exact numbers but as of 2004 (I know, I know, that's a long time ago) there were approximately 40000 people in federal and state prisons for marijuana related offenses. It costs a lot of money to keep 40000 people in prison. That is real money that could be better spent on more worthwhile endeavors in this time of economic crisis. I have to admit that I think it is fantastic that we finally have reached a point in this country's history, when a candidate for Senate is willing to support the legalization of marijuana. Now, if we can only get the president to support her.
Patient assisted suicide is a subject very near to me. My father died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. If you have ever had anyone in your life die a slow, painful death, then I'm sure you understand the sense of frustration that both the patient and their family experience. I do not understand under what premise the State believes it has the authority to dictate when a person can die. If I am dying of terminal disease, by what right does the State demand that I suffer, instead of ending my life on my own terms? I believe that it is not only moral, but legal to allow a person the freedom to end their life on their own terms. It is long past time that America allows people to choose when and how they wish to die. This is not a candidate essay. I was just struck by how rare it is to actually have a politician provide seemingly honest answers to serious questions. I'm not a resident of Massachusetts; however, I'm hoping that they are able to elect Warren as their Senator. She's not perfect, but in today's political climate she is looking like a role model for other democratic candidates.