The following post was written by Aashay in response to the Day 1 Challenge Action: Research a current political or social issue that you hear about all the time, but don't feel informed about. Aashay chose to research the topic of euthanasia after hearing about it in the news and in classroom conversations. These are his thoughts on the topic and on completing the challenge:
As Americans, we pride ourselves on one word: freedom. Our history, rights, values, and future political decisions are all ideally based on maximizing freedom. This is due in part because we often like to think of ourselves as the “inventors” and protectors of political and social freedom. The President of the United States is often referred to as the leader of the free world, and we love to talk about how it was us who first began to offer complete freedom of religion, speech, and expression for all its citizens (even though that isn’t entirely accurate). However, one right that we rarely think of on a day- to- day basis is the right to death. Is the gift of life the most precious thing we have ever been given, or does every individual deserve the right to die a peaceful, and dignified death on their own terms?
Despite being an avid follower of politics, this was was an issue I never gave much thought to. It has gotten an increasing amount of media attention in the past couple of years, but not necessarily in an informative manner. When I began my research into the topic, I started by reading the arguments of the individuals who wanted to end their lives via physician- assisted suicide. It became abundantly clear that unless you’ve been in that position personally, it is impossible to understand. These people don’t want to end their lives simply because they’re in a lot of pain, or are just too tired to go on, but because their medical condition has caused left them imprisoned by their bodies. Many can’t speak, move, eat, or even go to the bathroom, let alone have have any fun. They’re essentially locked and simply waiting for death. Considering this highly restrictive quality of life, we must allow ourselves to consider the concept of quality of life.
The right to die argument was an issue I had barely given any thought to until recently, and even with my new research I still haven’t completely made up my mind on it. It was, however, an important step to begin that research. Understanding right to die laws is difficult, and it's even more difficult to take that understanding and use it to help form a personal opinion on such an important topic. It extends beyond legality and strikes at our understanding of humanity and life. Information gathering is just the start of exploration into this topic.
On only the first day of the challenge I am proud to have participated and made myself a more educated person. I believe the biggest thing I got out of participating in this challenge is gratitude. In the midst of political turmoil, and all our first world problems it’s incredibly easy to forget how lucky we are. Lucky that people of all races, genders, religions etc. can call themselves citizens of this nation. We may hate the fact that it always seems like we have something to complain about when it comes to the government, but do we ever stop and think about how lucky we are to be able to freely gain the information we need to make decisions and to openly discuss the information we find to help us understand topics from others' perspectives? Being a responsible citizen isn’t just about knowing everything about all major issues, but also about realizing how fortunate we are and how much the next generation of this country depends on us to make responsible civic decisions so they too can enjoy the same liberties we have.