No Ordinary Princess

...anything but ordinary...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Reading Pat Kirby today brought back to mind some thoughts I had last week when our "illustrious leader" issued the first veto of his tenure by denying the embryonic stem cell research bill (H.R. 810) which had been passed by the US House of Representatives and Senate.

Pat led me to this post on The American Prospect's blog. Here is what I see as the bottom line from that TAP post:
I don't give a damn how tactically brilliant this may be. I look at this action and this is what I know -- that millions of Americans will die horrible deaths and the government of the United States doesn't give a good goddamn about them.
The only compassion this administration and many of its sheep allow is for the unborn. "Crisis pregnancy centers" offer "counseling" for pregnant women. Protesters (has anyone ever noticed how many of these protesters are male or Catholic nuns?) picket and more outside facilities that offer abortion, and other health care services, to women. But where is the concrete support women and their families need when their pregnancies are carried to term? Where is the subsidized child care for women who bear their children yet need to work to survive? Where is a genuine push for a living wage for all Americans?

When Congress does take up the issue of raising the embarrassingly low federal minimum wage (which hasn't been raised in, what, 30 years?), House Republicans feel the need to sneak in an amendment to eliminate the estate tax through the back door. You see, this government can only help the needy in America if they help the wealthy more at the same time. There is no compassion for the living in America, only for the pre-living.

The vast majority of the American public supports expansion of embryonic stem cell research, which holds promise for living people with a variety of ills from Parkinson's Disease to diabetes, spinal cord injuries to Alzhimer's Disease. Numbers that I have seen from various polls on the subject range from 60-72% of Americans claiming support for the research. And, as TAP and Pat Kirby pointed out:
Is there any doubt that, if this guy (Bush) got Parkinson's Disease, he'd eat those little buggers out of the petri dish with a spoon, probably dribbling some of them on Tony Blair in the process?
Call me a political cynic if you will but I knew there was no way Bush would relent and sign this important, socially and morally just legislation. He drew his line in the sand in August 2001 when he limited federal funding on embryonic stem cell research to the 60 lines already in existence at the time. Unfortunately, due to contamination, those 60 lines of stem cells have now been whittled down to, what, eight or nine lines? And the purity of even those remaining lines is in question.

Although the bill includes only those embryos in fertility clinics that are already slated for destruction, would require the consent of both donors, would allow for no compensation for the embryos in question and might ultimately benefit millions around the world, it doesn't matter. George W. The Mighty "Decider" Bush would not back down on this. Fine. Expected. I held out some slim hope the US Congress would connect with their souls enough to override the idjit's first veto. No such luck. (Oh, you've simply got to click the "Decider" link...it's a hilarious tidbit, courtesy of The Huffington Post.)

The more I considered it, the more I realized I should never have pinned any hopes on an override. This is, politically, a win-win situation all around. That is, unless you're one of the millions of Americans living with a debilitating illness which might benefit from the speedy expansion of research into treatments using embryonic stem cells. Or if you happen to love someone who is affected by one of those illnesses.

The current male resident of the White House gets to pander to the Religious Right, consolidate his "base" among the basest of "pro-life" voters and come off as having an actual backbone by reaffirming the stupid stance he took five years ago.

By passing this legislation but not overriding Bush's veto, both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives in Congress can reap political benefit in November. Republicans in the crudest of red states...oh, South Dakota comes to mind...can tout their absolute conviction to the unborn, even in their undifferentiated blastocyte stage. Democrats in more left-leaning areas can rant about their support and rage against Republican opponents who did not support the bill or its override.

Really, there are very few losers given that Congresspeople probably voted along the lines of the majority of their constituents in both votes. It will play great in November. And it will be a shouting point to take America's collective mind off real issues like, oh, war, the economy, income inequality, women's rights, the whittling away of the American middle class, civil rights, the destruction of the US Constitution. Was there really much incentive to override? Not that I can see.

I guess this means I'm now a real political cynic, huh?

Technorati tags: bitchy / US politics

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