Dear Dr. Ted Baehr
To say that Million Dollar Baby promotes the message that death is better than disability is a very narrow-minded statement. I respect that societies, religious and political, as well as disabled people themselves advocate that disability does not have to be the end of a happy life. But for a small group of people to lobby for the illegalization of euthanasia, thus deciding for the vast greater population that assisted suicide is wrong is an injustice.

Perhaps Million Dollar Baby and some Nazi Propaganda films had similar plot lines, but it must be understood that the political and social climates present when Nazi films were released were far different from today’s political and social climates. At the time of the Nazi films, Hitler was preaching the “Big Lie” and subtly making his way to the position of Fuhrer. Now, on the other hand, that the world has borne witness to the Holocaust and subsequent atrocities, there exists a far more liberal and vigilant generation; and it is a generation confronted with problems of the past in need of solutions of the future.

We are truly at a crossroads in the human experiment. As science claims its followers and religion clutches to its own flocks, a deepening divide is occurring. On one side are those who stick to the ways of the past for spiritual reasons or, simply a genuine fear of the possible results of a major change. On the other side are the free-thinkers who are more willing to allow for openness regarding issues that have been closed for so long. It is not certain which side will win, but, what it certain, is that at some point there will be one side that claims victory and another side that chokes on defeat.

I do not support the idea of one side of the debate over euthanasia being virtually enslaved by the other by political decision. Therefore I support laws that allow for assisted suicide in special cases. That way, if an autonomous person conflicted in some way decides that suicide is right for them; they are not barred from it. Likewise, if another autonomous person with identical conflictions decides that they want to live what’s left of their life; they, also are not barred from doing so.

I can appreciate that advocates for the disabled do not support movies like Million Dollar Baby that can be interpreted to send messages that disabled life is worse than no life at all, but I do not believe that it is right for disability advocates to point fingers at a cast of movie production with no obvious motive to harm the disabled. The fact is, Million Dollar Baby was a very well written and well done production that deserved the acclaim it received. Million Dollar Baby was the story of a major current issue and how a small group of people chose to deal with it; and a story like that is protected under the free speech amendment. And if people continue to have a problem with the movie’s “propaganda message,” then perhaps they should create a movie about a quadriplegic person who is conflicted but still lives a full and happy life.

Sincerely,
Chrisman