Friday, June 3, 2011

The Dead

Was he single-minded? Most definitely. An extremist? Quite probably. But in my opinion, he was one of the most significant activists for civil rights in my lifetime. He advocated not for the rights of a single group but for the rights of all humans to make a uniquely important decision with dignity and grace.

Rest in peace, Dr. Jack Kevorkian:

Ultimately, Dr. Kevorkian’s said his belief regarding a patient’s right to die had a simple premise: it was in the Constitution, unwritten but guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment which states that Americans are not excluded from rights that are not specifically enumerated in the constitution.

“There have been many constitutional scholars over time that have believed that the Ninth Amendment deserves more respect, but Dr. Kevorkian took it further than most lawyers and most constitutional scholars would take it,” said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard professor and lawyer who was an adviser in several of Dr. Kevorkian’s legal battles, and corresponded with him while he was in jail.

“He was part of the Civil Rights movement — although he did it in his own way,” Dershowitz added. “He didn’t lead marches, he didn’t get other people to follow him, instead he put his own body in the line of fire, and there are not many people who would do that. In the years that come, his views may become more mainstream.”

If any of you are interested, you can make donations supporting the right of Americans to decide to end their suffering with a modicum of peace by giving to Death with Dignity.

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