The D.C. Council Committee on Health and Human Services held a markup of Bill 21-38, the Death with Dignity Act, on Wednesday, October 5 at 2 pm. I was there with fellow supporters of the bill.
Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), the committee chair, spoke against the bill. She insisted that the matter should be decided by voter initiative. No. We elect representatives to deal with difficult matters. But to give her due credit, she did bring the bill up for a vote, keeping her word. That was honorable.
Committee members David Grosso (I-At-Large) and LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) spoke in support, as did the bill's author, Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) joined Alexander in speaking against. The bill was then passed by the committee without amendments. It is expected to get its first reading by the full Council at an additional legislative meeting later in October.
After the vote, one woman who opposed the bill, gave a dressing down to May, saying that she had no right to vote for the bill, she had overstepped her authority, and that such a controversial measure should be put before the voters. May, the duly elected legislator representing Ward 8 (though she was defeated in the June 14 primary by Trayon White), stood her ground. She had said that poor residents of her ward could not afford to move to Oregon to take advantage of that state's Death with Dignity statute, which was passed twenty years ago and was the model for the District bill.
The same demand for a plebiscite was made in 2009 and 2010 by opponents of civil marriage equality. They lost before the Board of Elections and Ethics, in the Court of Appeals, and were denied cert by the Supreme Court. If B21-38 passes, opponents can try to do a referendum. Such a course is unlikely to succeed. The opponents inadvertently helped the bill by making eye-stretching arguments. Stating that council members had no right to vote for the bill, preposterous as it was, nicely demonstrated the failure by opponents to grasp the separation of church and state.
Thanks to Councilmembers Cheh, Grosso, and May for voting for the bill, and to committee chair Alexander for bringing it up for a vote.
The world can be cruel, and the presidency carries many thankless tasks. President Obama performed one of them today. It is not popular to consider our strategic interests in such an instance, but the man responsible for sending our children off to war, including the special ops forces he sent to raid bin Laden's compound in 2011, must consider them. Before condemning him, let us imagine the weight of it that he must bear and we do not. Remember Churchill, who could not warn the people of Coventry of the Nazi bombing raid that he knew was coming because it would have tipped off the Germans that Britain had broken the Enigma code. Giving away that secret would almost certainly have led to many more deaths. Even when they do not have my agreement or understanding, those who take on that burden have my respect. And on November 8, we must not confer its terrible responsibility on an ignorant and reckless man.
The video taken by Keith Scott's wife Rakeyia of his fatal encounter with police is hard to watch and to listen to. MSNBC was just analyzing the video. I do not begrudge their doing that, but I had to mute the TV. I've had too much. One thing that shines through in the painful recording is this woman's fearlessness in confronting her husband's killers. She is not the first. If there is one ray of hope in all this, it may be that.
Congrats to freshly minted D.C. Councilmember Robert White (D-At-Large), who was sworn in today after being chosen by the D.C. Democratic State Committee to fill the unexpired term of recently resigned Councilmember Vincent Orange. In the picture below, CM White is joined by infant daughter Madison. Robert earned the highest GLAA rating in the At-Large primary race, which he won in June. He stands for a full term on November 8.
Excellent speech by Michelle Obama in which she talks about why she is inspired by Hillary Clinton.
Trump cries "America First" and calls for barring all Muslims from the country, then he fills the Trump International Hotel with imported goods and is ready with Qur'ans and prayer rugs for those who can afford his conspicuous-consumption rates. He deserves a prize for brass-fronted impudence (to take a phrase from Frederick Douglass) if he wins this election. Thanks to Dana Milbank for the tour.
I appreciate Sen. Kaine's sentiments, but I think if you read what Pope Francis has written, you would be less optimistic. His Holiness has a great pastoral gift, the value of which I do not minimize. But he remains a conservative, and he has made quite clear that, his personal kindness and graciousness notwithstanding, he has no intention of changing Church doctrine regarding women or gay people. Indeed, he is appallingly uninformed on the science of gender identity. The Catholic Church is not about to budge any time soon.