Three days ago on July 19, 2006, President George W. Bush finally did something that he has never done as President; he used his veto authority to knock down the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. This bill passed by both Republican Houses of Congress, would have dramatically expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research—a wing of modern science that holds promise for curing many horrible and fatal diseases. It is absolutely astounding and hypocritical, that in his remarks prior to signing the veto, Mr. Bush, who was surrounded on stage by families created through in vitro fertilization by means of “adopted” embryos, stated that this legislation would cross a moral line that our nation can not afford to cross. He also stated that allowing this legislation to pass would, in essence, make America slaves to technology. The man is clearly delusional and clearly is forgetting his own recent past concerning morality.
Since when is our current President, whose own conduct in the White House has crossed many questionable moral boundaries and even bordered on criminal offenses, become the moral guidepost of our country?
Mr. Bush forgets the controversial and even scandalous ways in which he was elected twice to our nation’s highest office. Mr. Bush forgets the deceit and the lies he perpetrated on the American people in his administration’s pursuit of controlling the flow of oil in the Middle East by unjustly invading Iraq. Mr. Bush forgets his promise to hunt down Osama bin-Laden in response to the horrible 9/11 attacks—a task which now is no more thanks to the unfathomable disbanding of the CIA unit, Alec Station, that has hunted and tracked al-Qaeda for more than ten years.
Mr. Bush forgets his administration’s conduct, and perhaps his own, in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame in response to her husband’s (former Ambassador Joseph Wilson) refuting the White House claims that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear materials from Niger. Mr. Bush forgets the many times his administration has questionably alarmed the American public of pending terrorist attacks when no such evidence existed. Mr. Bush forgets that he was vacationing on his 1,500-acre ranch in Texas while the poor and desolate people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast struggled to survive during Hurricane Katrina. Or perhaps Mr. Bush forgets his cozy association with indicted criminals like Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay.
Or perhaps Mr. Bush is simply misinformed, as he is seems to be on so many issues, on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. Mr. Bush’s own highly trusted political advisor, Karl Rove, erroneously stated in a July 19, 2006, interview with The Denver Post that research has shown “far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells.” This notion was quickly refuted by at least a dozen leading scientists in the Chicago Tribune stating the Mr. Rove’s statement was inaccurate. Or perhaps Mr. Bush was listening to ultra right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh who claimed that the “militant pro-abortion crowd” was behind this push for expanding embryonic stem cell research and that “you need abortions to get” embryonic stem cells. Clearly no one ever explained the birds and the bees to Mr. Limbaugh, much less the intricacies of something as complex as stem cell research. But then again Mr. Limbaugh’s brain has been so clouded by years of criminal Oxycontin and Viagra abuse that perhaps he can no longer comprehend complex issues such as these.
Embryos used in this type of research are donated with the express consent of the donors for research purposes; they are not stolen or taken from abortive mothers. In many cases, where couples have little choice in starting a family other than by in-vitro, the extra or unused embryos are simply and wastefully discarded in the trash. Where is the morality in this senseless practice, Mr. Bush?
As far as worrying about Americans becoming “slaves to technology”; Mr. Bush has clearly missed the boat on this one too. Measurable productivity gains—fueled by advances in technology—have been driving economic growth in the American economy for the last decade or so; but have caused many Americans, especially those who have been fortunate to keep their jobs, to work harder and work longer hours. The intimate intermingling of technology and daily life has not only altered the American workplace; but has also forever altered the American home. Our nation has, and becomes, more dependent on technology every single day in spite of no federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Mr. Bush could use a new speechwriter.
Is it morally right for President Bush to slam the door on the hopes of all of those current and future sufferers of such horrible diseases as Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, MS and paralysis in the name of proving his machismo that he doesn’t waver on issues once he decides? He clearly has divided the nation again, and his own party, with this veto action as many Republican Senators and Congressmen voted in favor of the act. But then again we have come to expect this kind of conflicting behavior from our “elected” President—a man who has crossed many moral lines but thinks nothing of it. Mr. Bush’s veto of the stem cell bill is a joke.