Soylent Green is Mercy

Congressional Republicans and the their mutant version occupying the White House appear intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Thousands could die but this is dismissed as “fake news,” or simply ignored.

I was deeply moved by the plight of a potential victim addressing Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) in a recent raucous town hall. The young lady presented a detailed and articulate summation of her condition, indicating that loss of insurance would be literally fatal. Senator Cotton, rather than address the issue, simply stated, “let’s move on to another question.” The crowd erupted in protest.

It’s a long video. The portion I’m referring to begins at about the 20-minute mark.

This puts me in mind of an old sci-fi classic film, Soylent Green (1973), based on a novel called Make Room, Make Room (1966) by Harry Harrison. The story posits a dystopian future in the year 2022 (two years into Trump’s second term, or Pence’s first), a scant five years from now. It featured a society of very wealthy and very poor, disastrous overpopulation, famine, and climate havoc, wrought by pollution, carbon emissions, and apparent dissolutions of environmental protections. Couldn’t happen, right?

In Soylent Green’s near future, euthanasia is legal and it’s implied it’s even encouraged. Watching the film in 1973 as a 20-year old college student I was captivated by Edward G. Robinson’s character, Sol Roth, who somehow gave me the impression that in 2022 I would be that character’s age (69). In fact, it was Robinson’s last role and he died two weeks after film completion from bladder cancer. Robinson was 80.

In addition to quality of life issues, Roth discovers a horrible secret: “about the supposedly hydroponically-produced food the populace survives on: the oceans are dying and there is not enough algae left to support the populace” (imdb.com). The “surplus population” is being fed by recycled deceased humans, not a few of which are generated by the euthanasia clinics.

Sol decides to visit a clinic where he can simply sign in, lie on a table, be injected with euphoria-inducing drugs, listen to classical music and view scenes of nature from his past which no longer exist before the fatal injection. Best scene in the film.

Repealing the ACA will results in thousands of deaths, more than in the 9/11 attacks. People dying from terminal illnesses will suffer long and hard before their demise. As we approach Soylent Green’s 2022, much of which is looking eerily prophetic, perhaps Trump and his party could at least consider some compassionate end of life policy. They can’t hide behind their “sanctity of life” mantra which applies only to unborn fetuses, but they could legalize voluntary euthanasia, and relieve the suffering, which seems less a byproduct and more willful objective wrought by a perverse sadistic bent.

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