Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We are stuck with our families but we choose our enemies

As John Key's government was explaining away their astonishing and callous rejection of the proposed lowered blood alcohol levels for all drivers I happened to catch a few TV minutes of Round Table on ABC's This Week.

The panellists were discussing President Obama's dilemma about an issue which required very strong leadership but which would probably reduce his popularity among the voters. Someone quoted FD Roosevelt's response to advisors who suggested that a certain course of action would win him enemies: he was quoted as saying, "Judge me by the enemies I have made."

It's not exactly as simple as that, of course. But this week was a time for leadership. John Key and his cabinet elected to displease the wrong enemies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thank you, John Proctor!

Dr John Proctor’s appeal concerning euthanasia is timely and wins my immediate support.

Any change in the law may not come quickly enough for him and me. But it is somewhat understandable that our lawmakers are reluctant to change a statute that honours the sanctity of human life – even to the point where it becomes damaging and abusive.

It would be one thing to change the law to permit shortening the pain of a dying person and the misery of his or her family. Dr Proctor and I would both like to have that privilege. And my father, failing now as he comes up to 102, says he wishes every day that his life was over.

But it would be something else if I and my sisters had been lawfully able to decide that it would have been a good thing for Dad to pop off ten years ago and were able to persuade a doctor to bring his life to an end.

The right of the individual to choose must be paramount. And, somehow, a way must be found for that right to be actioned at the point where the individual may no longer able to rationally make the decision.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life and Death

Andre le Roux died yesterday, sooner than anyone expected. His last “10 Minutes on a Tuesday” arrived this afternoon, replete with the flair and imagination that have marked these weekly offerings for worship leaders in congregations like ours.
Bev and I met Andre only once. We were at the School of Theology in Queenstown. We were to do our Murder Mystery Dinner and Andre was taking sessions on leadership. I don’t know that I made much of a contribution to the event. But to sense Andre’s vigorous, enthusiastic and spirited leadership was to be reminded of something of my own exciting first years in ministry in the 1960s.
I think we had only one private conversation at Queenstown but I know that my hopes for ongoing remission of my prostate cancer were discussed and found warm support.
Barely weeks later I heard that Andre had been diagnosed with terminal cancer himself and within a short time he had to retire from parish ministry. Now, suddenly, he, a young man with a young family and decades of life and ministry before him is gone and, I, feeling a little old if not quite decrepit at 75, am still here....
We watched “The Proposition” tonight and a closing speech was memorable:
“Although the paths of our lives may turn unexpectedly and end all too soon, I can only believe that the journey is never in vain, and perhaps it is this very journey which gives life hope and meaning.”
Andre, we salute your short journey. We, who, by a strange and mysterious providence, survive you, will try to live out our journeys in your spirit.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Who’d be a Ref?

I’m not a special fan of football. But I did stay up to watch NZ doing itself well at the FIFA World Cup Games. And I’m partly watching a semi-final right now. But, on balance, since being turned into an edocrinological girl by Zoladex, I think I’d rather watch netball. At least the scores are usually higher.
In both sports, the role of the referee or umpire is critical. That’s to say, everyone is critical. The players don’t like your decisions. The crowd always have a better view than you. And FIFA itself will drum you out of the Brownies if you make a real idiot of yourself. It must be a thankless task to make instant judgments and award a penalty or hold up a yellow card. Especially since, if you didn’t see anything naughty then, apparently, it never happened.
I’m glad that there isn’t a ref looking over my shoulder moment by moment and day by day. I’m glad that my fumbles, stumbles and trip-ups are not under summary judgment the instant they happen.
But, hey, wait a minute. What am I saying? Of course everything I say and do is under judgment. All the time.
How well have I educated the ref that is in me?

The Ca Pros Report

I did my three month test recently and my PSA is still down. That’s a year since the combination of Zoladex implants and daily Casodex pills made it unreadable.
So my specialist has returned me to the care of my local doctor until there’s some change in the reading. That usually happens when the expert says “There’s nothing more I can do for you,” so this is a much more hopeful situation.
I’m also doing pretty well on the half-knee replacement and thinking seriously about having the second done. With all those things going for me the sky will be the limit.
The sky? Well, it’s thirty years since I gave up my Private Pilot Licence. Perhaps I should enquire about taking it up again.

Light-up BAD -- Drink-up GOOD?

The recent sharp increase in the excise tax on tobacco wouldn’t ordinarily have interested me much. But I was intrigued and concerned that it was announced at almost the same time that the Prime Minister was saying that the government was not inclined to increase the price of alcohol. He said it wouldn’t have much effect on drinking.
Experts opposed to the ready sale of both drugs have advocated price increases to try to limit the amount of damage they do. But evidently this present government believes that strategy will only work on smokers and not on drinkers. There’s a connecting piece of logic here that seems to have slipped past me.
It’s disappointing that the coming review of the Sale of Liquor Act may not take absolutely seriously the possibility that the cost of liquor may have some bearing on the amount of damage it does. And the need for more financial resources to mitigate the social cost of families affected by 700,000 heavy drinkers surely suggests that we must consider increasing taxes on something.
If drug damage is severe enough to make smokers pay, why not drinkers?

This is the year there will be changes. Let’s make sure they are the best we can do for everyone. Visit