“Meanderings” by Jim Peters

Frequent contributor Jim Peters sent along this essay:

When I was a child, my father was fairly disgusted with my attempts to get out of anything having to do with arithmetic which is mathematics now. I once wanted to be a farmer, not an outrageous goal for a kid living in Iowa, but my father told me that I could not be a farmer unless I practiced my arithmetic. So, I am very pleased that my good friends, Rich and Annie Cavanaugh, are heading for the fields of western Massachusetts and classes in farming. Then I read that “Demanding Internships Nurture The Idea Of Agricultural Careers for …Young People.” in the Boston “Globe.” As I often maintain to my family, I am just fifty years ahead of my time. I did not know there were courses you could take. Granted, landscaping is a lot like farming without the cows, pigs, and chickens, but a part of me still wishes that my father had not raised the dreaded “A” word. Of course, I could have studied the damned subject but it did not seem like my path in life, especially two years later when we ended up in South Chicago. No cows, pigs, and few chickens in that neck of the woods.

Then we moved to Massachusetts where I believed the local crop was politics. I was fairly close to the truth. Well, I could major in Politics, which I did, and I took an immediate liking to it. But I do have a problem. Ballot questions. In Iowa and Illinois the law was that the legislature and governor passed the laws. In Massachusetts you can over-ride the laws with a few signatures and a majority vote. Every election year we have to drum down all sorts of ideas that are not well thought out and should not be on the ballot because, contrary to what John Adams felt when he authored our state constitution, we are not always well-versed in the nuances of specific questions. This year, especially, we are in over our heads. Two questions are a little above us and something I would rather leave to my State Representative Kevin Murphy. They are Prescribing Medication to End Life, and the Medical Use of Marijuana. The Right to Repair Law was already over. Those two are up to us.

“Prescribing Medication to End Life” will give two doctors the right to give medication that ends life to a willing participant. It leads in the polls, 64 to 27%. The Catholic Church is against the ballot question but we do not follow the Catholic Church much anymore on moral matters. Part of that is the church’s fault, it has been so behind on the issue of birth control, and the issues pertaining to women’s rights. Not the right to abortion, which I disagree with in all matters except rape and incest, a decision I came to in light of a major life-changing incident, but other issues in the church. As I understand Mr. Galvin’s voluminous bill, two doctor’s at the patient’s request can give the medication. There are a number of caveats, and they are major, but that is basically it. We condone the legal administration of suicide but we do not even have capital punishment on the books. I am against capital punishment too, but it is a lot more palatable than assisted (who is the person doing the assisting and what happens to their soul?) suicide.

I strongly believe that assisted suicide is wrong. Jack Kevorkian gave lethal medication to depressed people. I have made no bones about the fact that I have been a depressed person in the past. Let us make sure that we do not condemn a person to a premature death by making it easier to get the drugs to do it.

“Medical Use of Marijuana” is not as difficult to kill. Basically, it is a federal, not just a state crime, to possess marijuana. Supposedly it has uses in the treatment of cancer, which I have, and I do not treat the bill lightly. No matter what our vote is, it is a federal law. Our voting for the medical use of marijuana is not going to make it available to the vast populace, nor is it going to make it available for medicinal purposes. I agree with President Jimmy Carter who basically said that “the possession
of a drug should not be more dangerous than the use of the drug itself.” Marijuana is still, despite the President’s words, a federal offense. Not a state offense, a federal offense.

So those are my meanderings for today. I hope my opinions do not offend too many people. They are my opinions, and do not reflect Dick Howe’s or anyone else’s. Have a good day.