“The American Way of Death”

Might as well have been titled “The American Way of Life” and now the viral pandemic has magnified that. It seems relatives and care givers do not mind the dying so much as the inability to “enjoy” the usual rituals. Given how much energy is normally expended maundering and commiserating over the expect demise of some “loved one,” the rapidity with which Covid-19 dispatches some victims is doubly disconcerting.

The bottom line is that American life and American death is defined by commercial interests. Commercial value, even more than property, defines individual significance. Funerals are an occasion to transfer money, as are weddings, hospitalizations and hospice care.

This observation leads me to wonder whether the opposition to an efficient universal health care system is prompted in part by the perception that individuals will be denied the importance of a really expensive demise.

There seems to be a similarity here between the reality that individual rights are not officially honored until after a person is accused of crime, much as the lives of natural persons are not valued until just before their demise. “Better late than never.” Is that the American way?