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On My Mind

Fall 2004

Barbara Coombs Lee. Photo by Mark Mann, Vassar, The Alumnae/i Quarterly.
Barbara Coombs Lee. Photo by Mark Mann, Vassar, The Alumnae/i Quarterly.
Most of us in the Compassion family are struggling with grief and discouragement over the election results. We do know our goals of care and choice at the end of life cross party lines. And we draw strength from the moderate, pro-choice Republicans in our camp.

But the fact is this administration has done everything in its power to turn back our advances in Oregon, scare doctors and patients alike and return assisted dying to a dark, shameful, covert place. Now we face four more years of power for those who say our mission affronts God. The people in power would impose their beliefs about how to die, and how to live, on us all.

This week the master storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estes entreated her friends not to lose heart, but to put their faith in small acts of kindness and courage. "Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once," she wrote, "but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach." She stressed that we cannot know which acts or by whom will tip the scale toward enduring goodness. Our job is only to do our part, to bring the best of ourselves to all we do, and to respect and care for one another in a multitude of diverse ways.

One thing is clear. Our movement has honed a leading edge in the battle for human dignity and individual freedom. End-of-life choice marks one of the great arenas where autonomous decision-making battles dogma. In this arena David might slay Goliath and the world would feel a shift. We have already kept John Ashcroft at bay for over three years.

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How fitting that this week our new organization, Compassion & Choices begins to take shape as well. A struggle waits on the horizon, and we are ready. Together Compassion in Dying and End-of-Life Choices are stronger, more prepared and purposeful than ever before. Our union is well suited for the hard times ahead.




  
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This article was provided by Compassion in Dying. It is a part of the publication Connections.
 

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