Green carpet-1

the act of creating a small organization and making it appear to represent something popular for the purpose of promoting a particular entity, cause, etc. (a play on grassroots in the sense of a popular movement originating among the common people, ultimately from AstroTurf, a brand of artificial grass) –

In keeping with the theme of today’s post, we can confirm that our Public Health Committee will hear testimony on the assisted suicide bill, H.B. 5326, on St. Patrick’s Day.

Compassion & Choices – formerly known by its more colorful (and more honest) moniker The Hemlock Society – is the major organization promoting assisted suicide. For the past six months, this well-funded out-of-state group has been holding screenings of the film “How to Die in Oregon” around Connecticut, trying to gin up petition signatures and the appearance of an authentic movement. Recently, they made it very convenient for me to crash one of these screenings by having it at a location minutes from FIC’s Hartford office. I have the ticket stub to prove it.


Parts of the morbid and sometimes macabre film left me pretty creeped out, but C&C’s choice of venue was a different kind of eye-opener. The theater seats 150. By my count, taken at several intervals, there were no more than 25 people there – and surely fewer new recruits to the cause, since one of those people was established activist Ilene Kaplan, and one was me. A theater that size with such a dearth of patrons looks a bit like this:

Ghost town-1

The embarrassment doesn’t end there. Just as one must break a few eggs to make an omelet, it takes money to feign “momentum.” What was the cost of this disappointing turnout? Based on my own inquiry using my real name, real e-mail address, truthful information and totally legitimate premises, I have reason to believe our opponents spent twelve hundred dollars or about $50 a head for a two-hour, prime Saturday afternoon spot. Believe it or not, that includes their break for being a nonprofit. Perhaps it’s a drop in the bucket to an organization whose major donor has a net worth of $23 billion, but this is exactly the kind of money a genuine grassroots movement doesn’t usually have to waste.

Take a moment to imagine how you would have used $1200 to help improve the situation for people who are sick. Are you turning green, or seeing red?