Should I be ashamed for not defending my mom from the Angel of Death?
by Craig J. Cantoni
The following is a fictional but realistic scenario of things to come.
My 88-year-old mom needs surgery to extend her life and not live in pain. However, she is worried about spending part of her savings on the surgery instead of leaving the money for her grandson as part of her small estate. In a family meeting on the issue, I tell her to go ahead with the procedure, because, after all, she had scrimped and saved money for all the years of working as a secretary and clerk in order to have money for the infirmities of old age.
Then, something frightening happens: A man in an expensive suit and a toothy grin barges into the house and exclaims, "You're not spending your money, Mrs. Cantoni, for surgery at your age. Instead, I'm taking your money and giving it to someone more deserving."
Confused and scared, my mom responds, "Are … uh … are you giving it to my grandson?"
"No! I'm giving it to your neighbor for his medical expenses. He's younger and will get a longer payoff for the money."
Seeing my mother trembling and crying, I become more enraged than I've ever been in my life.
"You bastard!" I yell to the intruder. "You can't be serious that you're going to take my mom's money and give it to that ne'er-do-well fat-ass next door, the same guy who has sired four kids out of wedlock with three different women, and who has spent every penny he's ever made on cars, ATV's, big-screen TVs, gambling, cigarettes, and big buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken."
"Yeah, that's the guy," says the intruder. "The Medical Rationing Board has determined that he needs the money more than your mother does. In fact, he needs triple-bypass surgery from years of eating finger-licking-good chicken."
"Who the f**k is the Medical Rationing Board?" I ask incredulously.
"They are esteemed physicians who have been selected by me to make these decisions."
"What about their Hippocratic oath?" I ask rhetorically. Then I say, "This is right out of the Third Reich. I suppose that the chairman of the Medical Rationing Board is Dr. Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death of concentration camp fame."
The intruder smiles and smugly says, "That's really over the top, and I'll use your words to demonize you as a right-wing extremist."
With that, I reach into my desk drawer, grab my .38 pistol, point it at the intruder, and say, "Leave this house immediately."
Laughing, the intruder tells me to look out the front window. "There are thousands of armed agents waiting outside to take that gun away from you and put you in jail for the rest of your life for being against the common good."
Not only do I realize that the situation is hopeless, but I also know that I never had any intention of shooting the thief. After all, the United States is a nation of laws, most of which are moral laws but some of which are immoral ones, such as the new nationalized health care law. Still, I say to myself in clichés, the law is the law, and violence begets violence.
Throwing the gun down, I say, "Okay, you win. But could you at least tell me your name?"
"Yes, I am the god who determines who lives and dies. My name is Barack Obama."
An author and columnist with an 88-year-old mother, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.