This I Believe

Maria - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on October 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: humanism

I believe in the value of a life.

I remember when Anna Nicole Smith died. One of my classmates described her existence as “a waste of his oxygen”. Another of my classmates couldn’t seem to fathom why anyone should care at all; she hadn’t accomplished anything in her life except a Playboy calendar, so why was she such a loss?? Truthfully, I wouldn’t have known she passed if I hadn’t happened upon a post-mortem expose about her while waiting in line at the grocery. Please know that I am not writing this essay in remembrance of a lost Playmate, or anyone else for that matter. I am writing this essay to have you consider the value of a life.

The reactions of my peers really made me think. I mean, people die every day, and we fail to notice simply because this is the nature of living; you cannot be everywhere at once grieving for everyone. And, in the face of a loss is it acceptable to discount the value of another human being’s life because you believe they did not epitomize all that the ideal existence should have? Is someone’s life worth less because they accomplish less or don’t make an impact on the world?

I mean, if that’s true then what is there to be said for the three year old defeated by cancer, a child so young they couldn’t have changed the world? Does that make their life worth less than Gandhi’s? What about the homeless man on the corner, he has nothing to his name and can hardly buy dinner for himself. Does this make his life worth less than Bill Gates’? What about me, a teenager whose legacy would be Myspace and a C in math, does that make you better than me?

I for one will argue no. Keep in mind I am not arguing monetary value here. Because when it’s all over and the blinders of apathy and lust for power and influence are snatched away, all you have left are people.

Please take that into consideration next time you decide not to care.