My son participated in an academic speech competition a couple of weeks ago. As we waited for his turn, we had the opportunity to listen to the colleagues that preceded his presentation. The topics were varied and ranged in substance from the history of pants to the so-called "right to die with dignity."
The young girl who spoke on the latter matter actually suggested that the "right to die" law in Oregon had actually improved the quality of life for all Oregonians. She offered no proof of this, but nevertheless appeared fairly convinced she was correct. This young student took great pains to stipulate that the law wasn't for "healthy people" but rather, only the terminally ill and those who were physically and mentally handicapped.
As we sat in the back of the room, my son in his wheelchair, we were dumbfounded at the amount of times she tried to convince the crowd that the freedom to commit suicide had somehow bettered life in Oregon.
My son, in his predictably enthusiastic fashion, later said he wanted to bop her it the mouth. I, on the other hand, couldn't get over her words.
Dictionary.com says that "quality" is defined as: "character with respect to fineness, or grade of excellence". To me there is a vast difference between the true understanding of quality and what this misinformed girl was talking about.
I have never equated quality with ease. In life, quality is achieved through trial. The people I see and look up to are not those who have had everything given to them but the ones who worked hard or went through tough times to come out on top. We call the World War II generation the "greatest" because they fought for and struggled to preserve a way of life.
These were wise people. They seem to have a clearer understanding of what is truly important. Calling for "ease of life" will improve neither us or our country. Isn't it interesting that as support for assisted suicide has risen, the moral stature of America has declined.
We have traded in hard work for comfort to the point of eliminating all that is hard to deal with. Even loved ones. And we are of lesser quality for it. How is it that earlier generations understood that anything worth having is worth fighting for? We are trading in the keys to understanding for a life of shallowness. When we discard those in need of assistance, we are not improving the quality of life, but avoiding and eliminating the very people and things our nation should value most of all.
We do not welcome hardship and suffering. We do not seek a life of struggle and strife. Yet when these challenges find us, we must realize that if we endure, we will ultimately prevail and emerge stronger in character and wisdom. This is life. I pray that we might arrive to a day when man might see affirming qualities in every life on earth.