The End of Death Panels? (sigh!)

It seems as if now that the Democrats have pulled the "End Of Life Discussion" provision from the health care bill they're trying to pass. In combination with the amount of actual truthful information being thrown around most of the news outlets (to the effect that there was never going to be absolutely any "Death Panel"), the whole Death Panel thing is going to pass off the scene.

This makes me sad. Seriously.

I was enjoying this whole thing. It was conjuring up all kinds of wonderful images for me. I was really getting a whole lot out of this. First, it was good for my self esteem. I am a Huxley, Orwellian, Cuckoo's Nest loving freak. If the story involves some horrible government conspiracy, some terrifying vision of a dystopian future, I am all over it. I love that shit. Really, I know, you're shocked. I love this stuff enough, that occasionally, something akin to Orwellian night terrors creeps in, and I start getting worried. Then, I realize, "OH! Fuck, that's right. IT'S FUCKING FICTION!!!" I can certainly see segments of the population going over the line when it comes to things like freedom of speech. I mean, I don't know where you live, but every Halloween for the past ten years, in these parts some kids have gotten tracts in their bags explaining that Harry Potter is somehow allowing the devil in to control their souls or their bladders or their thumbs so they're shooting the American soldiers instead of the Islamofascist terrorists while playing the latest version of Rainbow 6 on their Weestation Box. Maybe, the devil is going to force them to tell someone about daddy's Playboy collection hidden in his closet or mom's boob job (which aren't really going to surprise anyone anymore). Besides which, in order for things to get really Orwellian 'round here we'd have to have government surveillance of citizens, and never ending wars to give the people something to fear and hate constantly and .......................... anyway.

I was having fun with this whole Death Panel idea. I'm thinking "Death Panel", and what comes to mind is something like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". I'm thinking of something much more American though. I'm thinking of voting. Really, think about it. If we could all write in to some government agency the names of say (for the sake of argument) twenty people we would like to see get roundly removed from this mortal coil, and they were counted and then all of the names with more than a certain number of votes were put in a lottery. We'd pick fifty or one hundred each time (again, just for the sake of argument). We could even put some more little spin on it. Maybe it would have to be people you actually have some kind of personal interaction with (because hey, we'd lose every one of our elected officials once or twice a year and we have a hard enough time with elections when we do hold them), you know, coworkers, family members, neighbors and so on. In other words, it would have to be people you actually know. Then, we could generate some revenue for the government by selling tickets and doing a pay per view kind of thing. Maybe, we could make it really interesting, and come up with a bunch of different ways for people to be systematically terminated. Then, you could give them a choice. It would be great. We could have a tiger cage, with a starving tiger in it, for those folks who are really defiant and want to go out fighting, with some dignity. For those people who just want it to be quick, with no pain, none of the last second crapping your pants or anything like that, they could go to sleep in a room in which gas then gets pumped in so they can't wake up, and have their beds pushed out of a cargo plane at thirty thousand feet, with cameras waiting at the landing point. How about inventing something incredibly terrible for people who get votes above a certain number. If they really get up there, you know, deeply despised by their communities, we could get to see them devoured by a pack of hungry weasels because their covered in chicken blood or something awesomely disgusting.

I'm thinking this might really do two things. First, maybe reality TV will finally end. If we've got real life, no bullshit barbarism, kick you in your tender pink parts kind of disgusting human behavior to look forward to once or twice a year, maybe we'll stop trying to set up these silly little games that are designed to approximate it as closely as possible. If we can really get our blood lust sated for really real, we might just back off this reality TV bullshit.

I also think it might mean a little more civility all around. Think about it. If you're in a convenience store and something really mean and degrading is about to come out of your mouth, you might think twice about it if you thought it might result in one more vote. At the same time, it could also result in better service, because shit, no one wants to face a hungry tiger just because they gave some schmucks shitty service when they were coming in for their grande latte enema.

Would there be exceptions? Would you be able to like, opt out for some reason? If you could prove you had some kind of severe mental illness, like bi-polar or schizophrenia, you get a pass. If your physiology literally makes it impossible for you to have reliable control over your behavior, you probably deserve a break. But let's not let this exceptions thing get out of hand either, "because God told me to" is not an excuse when you're not schizophrenic........... unless you're admitting to a whole other kind of mental illness, by proxy.

Think about it, really. There are probably some of you out there who are reading this right now and would love nothing more than to find a way to vote me off the island, the whole island, every island, forever. You might even pay thirty dirty dollars to see me get sent to that Great Unknown. If this had existed in the past, the chances are pretty good I'd not have made it this far, I understand this. But hey, I've got to set myself to the same standard as I would everyone else, right? Even if that standard is completely, absolutely, boffo, bugnuts, in-fucking-sane, I can't hold you to it and not me.

Hell, I don't know why we don't just do all of this with people who get the death penalty, we'd be able to rake in some real cash over it. You can't tell me for one second there aren't hundreds of thousands of people out there who would just be drooling in their popcorn for the opportunity to get to see criminals sent to their Final Judgment. I'm sensing a way to save the economy, and fast. We could really go for a Running Man kind of deal with those sentenced to death. I think a whole new industry would arise surrounding it. There would be companies dedicated to coming up with ways of turning the doing away with the condemned into something incredibly entertaining. Yes, I know, in the end of that movie, the wrongly convicted condemned guy pulls the whole machinery down and turns the populace against the people who were running it, but this is real life, that kind of shit doesn't happen. If you think about it, you've got a whole segment of the population which has been backing real, fundamental changes in the health care industry for quite a few years, and that shit still hasn't happened, and apparently isn't going to either. SO, let's just accept real life and the real world for what it is, and start to satiating that blood lust as deeply as we can, so we can possibly get some real shit done with the rest of our time and political lives.


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