A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small (or Sick or Old or Disabled)





The following is an excerpt from my book, With Christ in the Book, portions of which have been published previously on Caffeinated Thoughts. The book features a Foreword by Governor Huckabee. The last quote from Governor Huckabee might help explain his support of Todd Akin and why he is willing to put so much of his personal clout at risk in doing so.

Kelly didn’t have the best work ethic. She had a tendency to be lazy and easily bored. But her new employer was willing to hire her, because while finding help was easy, finding good help wasn’t. And Kelly was friendly and seemed eager to work.

Her new job was really quite simple. Follow the policy manual. Maintain all machines on the premises. Report any machines making unusual noises or overheating. The hardest part was helping discard any machines that had ceased to function, but the system overall seemed to work quite nicely.

Kelly was not a people-person and this job seemed like the perfect fit. Like many occupations, training was mostly on the job and only required watching some videos and practicing on some dummy machines available at the learning center. There was some technical jargon she needed to eventually learn, but a couple of classes at the community college would soon take care of that.

A typical shift consisted of making sure fluid levels were within range. Fluid leaks occurred on these old contraptions almost every day, but she got the hang of the cleanup procedure pretty quickly. Some machines needed a wipe down daily, others needed taken to the shop for more thorough cleaning once a week or so. Some of the machines were heavy, so gurneys were provided to help move them or another employee could help in some cases if they weren’t on break.

There was no need for Kelly to understand how the pieces of equipment really functioned, because there were always one or two maintenance experts available for advice or for taking care of the hard jobs. For this reason, stress was mostly a minimum, although each machine was equipped with a bothersome alarm system. At times these seemed to go off at inopportune times, for example, during smoke breaks. And more often than not the alarms were nothing, just a simple switch needed to be turned or a filter replaced, hardly worth the trouble of walking across the building to check on them. It’s not like these pieces of equipment could “die” on her or something. She laughed at the thought. One day, she got so mad at the continuous alarm going off from Machine 15B, she just gave it a good slapping. It had little effect on the machine, but it made her feel better.

Since these contraptions belonged to various companies and were being maintained in a common facility, Kelly had been warned that if she were caught messing up on maintenance, in rare cases she could be sued. But she didn’t worry about it too much; after all, these machines are just machines. And her superiors rarely asked questions. As long as the basic maintenance list was checked off each shift, nobody cared whether you went the extra mile or even really did your job. In fact, it was discouraged. The pressure to not rock the boat by “caring” was overwhelming, especially to newcomers like Kelly.

After six months on the job, the combination of boredom with the routine and Kelly’s laziness finally caught up with her. Three machines had to be discarded in one week, raising the suspicions of the local examiner. Apparently, Kelly had been neglecting to add fluids to two of the machines and had put the wrong fluid in another; moreover, none of the machines had been cleaned for weeks and she had been falsifying documents.

Kelly was quickly fired, but that was not the worst of it. Days later, she was arrested for negligent homicide. But she was not arrested because some prosecutor thinks machines are really human. She was arrested for thinking certain humans are only machines. You see, Kelly was working at Friendly Manor Nursing Home.

A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small[1] (or Sick or Old or Disabled)

Kelly’s flaw is our own. She had come to consider folks in a nursing home as more like robots than persons. Reread her story, noting all the ways she depersonalized a whole class of people. How we speak of things is often how we truly look at them (Mt 12:34).

Though the Bible declares that “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7), and that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27), man has continually used his own reason to challenge the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. Unborn children, Jewish people,[2] the handicapped, Ukrainians, Gypsies and blacks have all suffered from being considered less than human or less than persons.

In 2010, Governor Mike Huckabee spoke about equality at the Value Voters Summit[3]:

It’s all based upon the value of every single individual. Our founders had it right. When in the Declaration of Independence they said “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The basic idea is that there is no such thing as a person who is more valuable than another, that all of us have the same intrinsic worth, that no person is worth more because of his last name, or landownership, or occupation, or who his father was or grandfather was, or what city he came from, or what color he is, or what gender he or she may be. Nobody has greater worth because the IQ level in one person is higher than that of another.

I’d like for us to believe and surely this country can accept the fact that a child with Down’s Syndrome, a child with a severe disability—whether it’s Cerebral Palsy or any other disability—is equally as precious and valuable not only in the eyes of God but in the eyes of the rest of us, as the kid who is Mensa-level in intelligence, and could be the NFL Player of the Year.

There is no difference in the essential basic worth and value of that individual. But if those of us who truly believe that, do not continue to say…

We will not be silent on the issue of the unborn, and we will not be silent on the value of every human life from the moment of conception until the end of life.

Let it be clear I will not vote for, I will not support any candidate who does not value the worth and value of every human life and I urge you, don’t do it either.


[1] Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who! (1954), Random House Books for Young Readers. The full quote is “I’ll just have to save him, because, after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.” This has been a rallying cry to rescue particular unborn children.

[2] I add the word “people” here because the word “Jews” itself has been used so pejoratively in the past by anti-Semites.

[3] http://www.valuesvotersummit.org/2010archive (browse to the Huckabee speech, beginning at the 37:00 minute mark)

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