Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush's First Veto

So. The moment is finally coming. President Bush will soon use his first veto in the nearly six years of his presidency. And it's against legislation that will expand federal funding of stem-cell research.

I want to add my voice to the rapidly growing chorus of voices yelling for him not to do it. In doing so, I add my voice to an August crowd that also includes the voice of Nancy Reagan, wife of the Republican God of the 20th century.

Because, y'see, research in this field has the potential to develop cures for, among other things, Alzheimer's disease. Which her husband died from, after suffering from it for years. I have personally never dealt with anyone who had this condition (yet...thank God. Are You listening?) but I understand it is much harder on the family and friends than it is on the actual victim of the disease. And judging by the way Nancy Reagan looked at her husband's funeral, I can believe it. She looked, to me, weary, and beaten down by life.

I don't ever want to look like that. I don't ever want to watch someone I love slowly fade away over the course of a decade or more. And yet I briefly flash on that thought every time My 75-year old dad occasionally forgets what day of the week it is.

Don't get me wrong. My dad is still sharp as a tack. And he's in good health for someone his age. But he isn't getting any younger. And we all watched my grandmother fade away, until she didn't remember who any of us were or even who she was.

And while the whole premise of stem-cell research and the miracles scientists are promising that research could possibly deliver may very well turn out to be a hopeless pipe dream, we will never know until we try. And, God forbid, what if one of our enemies discovers a way to use this technology to develop a weapon against us, that we are powerless to fight, because we did not allow our own scientists to develop a counter to this.

I realize that this is the worst case scenario. But imagine a slightly less terrifying scenario. Suppose, for example, China develops, using stem cells, a way to heal any type of injury, including spinal cord injury. They then decide to share this with everyone EXCEPT the U.S. Who do you suppose the world will respect then?

At the very least, we must encourage this research, if for no other reason than to prove it cannot be used against us.

And for those who point out that these are living beings, capable of becoming life, let me say this: We are talking about 100-cell blastocysts that are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. They are also GOING TO BE DISPOSED OF ANYWAY. THEY ARE NOT EMBRYOS! THEY ARE SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS! They resemble a human being about as much as a 60 watt bulb resembles the sun.

And nothing prevents a couple going through IVF from giving their permission for someone else to use these to create a child if they don't need them any more. Although, as I understand it, most couples don't. That's understandable. I wouldn't want someone else raising a child I had created with another person--not that that's likely to happen anytime soon...

So wise up, Mr. President. For once in your life, do something right.

Update: 5:45p.m. The veto has gone through. He did it in a ceremony with some of these so-called "snowflake children" behind him. God, the hypocrisy of this man. If he's so concerned about the survival of these IVF embryos, well, then, he has two apparently healthy daughters of childbearing age. How soon do you suppose that they will each be carrying one?

Probably about as soon as they join the Army and serve a tour in Iraq.

GOD, I'm pissed off about this!

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