Tuesday, August 10, 2004


The Stem Cell Sell

The debate over stem cell research is heating up as the November election nears. President Bush is standing by his earlier position of $25 million for research and the order that no new stem cell lines can be created. Meanwhile John Kerry has promised to lift the current ban and give scientists more freedom and his running mate, John Edwards, has said that the administration would give $100 million for research and establish ethical guidelines for scientists to follow. To combat the Kerry plan, the President has resorted to using his secret weapon: Laura Bush.

First of all, let's talk about this statement. If we had applied this logic - let's not do it because we're not sure it will work - to other things in our nation's history, what would the outcome have been? Would we have a vaccine for polio? Would we have landed a man on the moon? Would Hitler have been defeated? The list could go on and on. Somtimes we have to take a risk if we hope to gain anything.

But let's get to the heart of the Bush administration's opposition to stem cell research. Quoting from the AP article:

Religious groups, also known as Bush's base, are the driving force behind his decision. If President Bush were to support this research, he risks angering his largest group of supporters. However, the views of these religious groups is inaccurate as was pointed out by Ron Reagan in his speech at the Democratic Convention.

Many people have spoken out on both sides of this issue. Bush and his religious base have called this "junk science," while others have called this a the future of medical research. While the Republicans focus on the fact that it probably won't cure Alzheimer's (which is the popular misconception because of the stance taken by Ron Reagan and its association with the recent death of his father), they neglect to consider that it could cure diabetes, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, and a number of other devistating illnesses.

In my opinion this is a risk that we can't afford not to take. By pandering to his religious base, President Bush is playing politics with the lives of millions. We've already watched him do this in Iraq with our young men and women and now he's doing it here at home. The President likes to claim that he is decisive and doesn't follow the polls, but what he really means is that he's not going to follow the general polls. He only follows those polls that reflect the opinions of his base no matter what risk it may pose to others.

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