Politics affects all of us. It has to. Government builds and maintains infrastructure (roads, mass transit) and regulates taxes. Government creates laws and enforces them. Government controls the big picture and also a lot of minutiae. It must play a role in our lives, but I question how big of a role.
Because of my illness, I rely on my government to create and enforce non-discrimination laws, to keep the roads and sidewalks passable, and to ensure that the medications I take are safe for consumption. These are all important. However, I feel that sometimes government goes too far in “protecting” its citizens. I will write more later, but for now, think about medical marijuana and assisted suicide. How involved should the government be?
In the United States, one big problem is that some states have legalized each of these, but the federal government does not recognize them as legal. That sets patients and doctors up for potential problems, and that’s not fair. It must be decided once and for all whether or not states can regulate either of these areas.
As far as marijuana goes, I won’t get into whether or not I think it should be legal for general use. However, for medicinal purposes it should be treated like any other drug. There should be studies to determine its efficacy, then it should be subjected to an FDA approval process to ensure it is safe for medicinal use. Why not do this? After all, it is no more harmful to a person than alcohol, cigarettes, or many prescription medications. It is not dangerous to non-users as long as second-hand smoke is avoided (it could follow the same rules as cigarettes) and people do not drive under the influence (it should follow the same rules as alcohol.) I would happily accept government regulation of medical marijuana so that I could trust that it came from good sources. I can not accept, though, that the government will not even consider it. Given the choice between the side effects from marijuana or the side effects from prednisone, I’ll choose pot, thank you very much.
Now, as for assisted suicide, the idea that suicide is illegal is ludicrous. A person who wants to commit suicide should get proper counseling, of course, and be of sound mind. But if a terminally ill person is in a lot of pain and wants to end their suffering a few weeks early, why shouldn’t they be allowed to make that choice? And if they are going to end their suffering early, shouldn’t it be done with the aid of a doctor, so that it is done in the least painful way possible? I simply can not imagine why people have a problem with this. And I certainly can not see any reason why the government should be regulating it.
These are just my opinions, of course. Everyone needs to do their own research and their own thinking. For me, though, the answers seem very clear. My opinions are strong, so I will definitely be elaborating on these in later posts. For now, I just needed to vent a bit.
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