|My late dog Trotter (left) and her companion, Nemo, |
of YouTube, pooper-scooper fame
This is a tender, thoughtful piece. I had to put my own 17-year-old dog down a few month's back. I held her (she insisted on standing, proud dog !) while the injection was performed. She gasped, made a brief sound, and then every muscle in her body crumbled into relaxation, then collapse.
Where does all that organized intention go?
It is the age old mystery.
The best I can do for my own 'inevitable ending' is fill out Vermont's "Advance Directive", put the AD sticker on my license, and hope I don't wind up in the hands of overzealous caregivers.
If I get elected to the legislature as an Independent (and that's doubtful---lol ) , I will try to reopen the matter--------- BEFORE the issue becomes personal.
Paul D. Keane
M. Div. '80
The Yale Daily News
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
My dog was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago. Sasha, then a six-year-old golden retriever, was limping heavily on her daily walks and had stopped making the frenetic puppy runs she did whenever she was let off leash at the park. At the time, we assumed that she had pulled a muscle and would improve. Weeks later, after a battery of tests — all of which she endured with the affectionate stoicism other owners of retrievers will be familiar with — we received the diagnosis.
We had two choices: amputate the leg and try to prolong her life, or let her live as long as possible, as comfortably as possible — until it came time to put her down. While initially amputation seemed the better option — Sasha wasn’t old by any stretch of the imagination — there was a high probability the cancer would return despite it. Fearing the trauma she’d feel after losing her leg, we took her home and bought painkillers.
I had a year to prepare for the inevitable ending, but as it approached, I found myself putting it more and more out of mind. I couldn’t be a present, loving owner to Sasha while dwelling on the fact that next Thursday at 10 a.m. she would be put to sleep. As the day approached, I found myself increasingly struck by the strangeness of knowing the hour that a creature you loved was going to die. Sometimes I questioned the decision not to amputate; often I hoped that by some miracle Sasha would wake up the next morning the dog she had been only a year ago and we could indefinitely postpone her death.
My parents announced around the same time as Sasha’s diagnosis that we would be selling our house in
spent the better part of 10 years in the house; I went home for school breaks
there, studied under the willow tree in the backyard, knew every kink in the
staircases and could tell you what time of night it was by the sounds I heard
outside my window. It was the last of my childhood homes that I still visited,
all the others having been sold. London
Both in the case of Sasha and the sale of the house, I had to live in the shadow of certain endings. Not cataclysmic ones, but small, aching changes that will come and are impossible to stop. As a senior, I am also facing another certain ending: a conclusion of my time at this institution that, like my house in
, is home,
intimately and profoundly. London
My struggle has become balancing a desire to live this moment, with my dog, in my house, at my school, while wondering how many more such moments there will be. In a strange way, certainty is the harbinger of uncertainty: On the other side of a known ending lies an unclear future.
While the certain future is limited, there is at least the illusion that you can shape the time you have left. The world presents both more opportunities and more anxiety on the other side of endings, a thought I am working to find exciting instead of chilling.
Ever the control freak, I have only a matter of months to learn how to let go, put the dog to sleep and cope with both certain endings and uncertain beginnings. I am searching for ways to forgive myself for not always being in control and, more importantly, to learn how to forgive myself for not always being able to save the things, people and places I love.
"Why does it seem so natural that elite institutions be liberal? They certainly haven’t always been."
I am six years old, circa 1950. My grandmother is walking me across the New Haven Green. We approach a group of Yale students and my grandmother says to me, "Stay away from them. They're pinkos."
Of course I had no idea then what pinkos are but I reluctantly obey.
My grandmother, bless her heart, lived two blocks from Yale in a third floor walk-up ghetto apartment with no hot water.
She was a dignified lady and in her Rebekah gown (her only luxury) she looked like Lady Churchill, tall, high cheekbones, white hair, and elbow length white gloves (another luxury).
My grandmother had a sixth grade education.
All her life she would be the unwitting victim of the propaganda of another Yale graduate and former Yale Daily News editor, Henry Luce, whose Life magazine and its burgeoning journalistic empire, spewed anti-communist rhetoric to its sixth grade mentality readers through 'cold war years.'
My grandmother, bless her soul, was also a bigot.
She would NOT have attended Rick Santorum's lecture last night even though it was easy walking distance at two blocks, and even though she might have agreed with his ideas,\.
She would not have attended because he was Roman Catholic-------sin of sins ---- and she worshiped at one of thee WASP temples on the Green.
Thus cometh The Anti-Yale.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Rick Santorum scares a lot of people here. That much was clear when he was still running for president, and even clearer yesterday as he spoke to the YPU amid choruses of profanity and other kindergarten-appropriate responses. Santorum’s outspokenness on issues like gay rights and abortion gives his opponents ample license to bellyache about “insensitivity” and are always good for an indignant Facebook status or eye-roll.
While we have heard other controversial conservative speakers, Santorum seems particularly good at provoking Yalies’ ire. Through the campaign season, one of Santorum’s platform planks that most negatively reverberated around campus was his critique of elite academia, which he referred to as “indoctrination centers for the left.”
He also frequently criticized the Obama administration for its taxpayer-funded support of widespread college education. At the same time, Santorum was a well-learned holder of a law degree who liked to quote classic works of political philosophy offhand — it seemed a contradiction.
Interpreting his speeches as anti-intellectual, though, completely misses the point of Santorum’s critique. Rather than being a learned anti-intellectual (in other words, a hypocrite), Santorum is critiquing the tack that education in elite institutions has taken in recent years. While he may undermine his own argument by his conspiratorial tone, implying that American leftists set up academic institutions to indoctrinate students, his argument would be better served by a different justification: Academia, simply by its inherent egoism, is liberal and statist by nature.
Why does it seem so natural that elite institutions be liberal? They certainly haven’t always been. Conservatives like to scapegoat the licentiousness of the ’70s, but, as William F. Buckley brought to light, liberal bias in education far predated the victim studies era. The roots of this bias, rather, lie in the social sciences.
Now that we claim to understand the human psyche in our psychology classes and divine how they will behave in groups through political science, we the learned are privileged with a higher position in society than ever. Beyond an education in the classics, studying the conflicting great thoughts and leaders of the past, the social sciences give us the false assurance that we know all the answers and have a greater right to design our fellow citizens’ lives than ever before.
New disciplines like behavioral economics provide a forum for the socially learned to try out their inventions. Therefore, a social science-centered academy will always be, in the bigger government sense, liberal. The social sciences tell the ennobled they have both the right and the responsibility to lead where everyone else’s understanding falls short. Our modern academia will always demand a more centralized government power, because leaving so many daily decisions up to all the little people will seem irresponsible and a waste of time. Plus, it feels good to be important.
Modern conservatives and economic liberals have always staked out the opposite approach. Friedrich Hayek, in his “Road to Serfdom,” identified central planning as the greatest bugaboo of freedom and prosperity. This is the classic academic tradition — the desire for academic humility, for the realization that no matter how many right answers the ruling class may have, the free human spirit always loses something in the transfer.
Rick Santorum thinks “the purpose of government is to create an opportunity for people to be free.” No matter how smart one person or group may be, they are never smart enough. This is why, when Santorum accuses President Obama of trying to “remake Americans in his image” by trying to get more Americans college-educated, he may as well be attacking the academic desire for bigger government control, not education itself.
So many see inconsistency in Santorum’s stance because they fail to distinguish between leadership and control. They fail to see how it is not hypocrisy that a man with a law degree who talks about leadership while quoting Burke and Tocqueville simultaneously tells an audience that many American universities are centers of liberal indoctrination and that too many Americans go to college.
Santorum believes in the real liberal education, which values debate, experience and everyday life over formulas. We can argue all day about whether universities really are liberal indoctrination centers or whether Obama really wants to nationalize curricula. It is clear, though, that Santorum’s problem is not with intellectualism but with modern academia’s lack of diverse thought, and, though he may not say this directly, its slide toward the desire to control.
Santorum’s ideas of replacing government with a powerful social infrastructure, grounded in faith, family and, as he stated last night, a sense of shame, will never ring true to Yale or the rest of modern academia. This tone of Santorum’s made Yale so reflexively angry at his appearance. To Santorum, the educated class — that is, us — are a little less special than we think.