1. When the party that seeks to nationalize health care and put the pharmaceutical companies in their place can convincingly bring out Michael J. Fox and sell themselves as our best hope for medical technology advancement, that’s a good sign that the other party has screwed up bigtime.
Embryos are not people. They have no brains, which are the essential source of our personhood. Without a brain, an embryo has no more rights than a houseplant. And the moral issue becomes simple: it is profoundly immoral to obstruct experimentation on things that are not people if such experimentation might save lots of actual people. Too many Republican candidates had that moral issue exactly backwards, and they suffered for it.
Does that mean there’s definitely a miracle cure tucked away in embryonic stem cells? Of course not. Not to mention that there’s still the small matter that you won’t get any 100% compatible spare parts from an embryo that isn’t cloned from you, another step that’s yet to be taken with unknown difficulty and cost. But unless you’re going for the abolishment of all Federal research grants, singling out embryonic stem cell research for grant restrictions makes no moral or practical sense.
The Democrats are full of ideas to take our problematic health care system and make it worse. This issue should have been a slam-dunk for the Republicans.
2. I’m not sure what could have been done to convince people who believe, for instance, that having a lot of troops in Iraq puts us in a worse position to deal with Iran than having a lesser number of troops in Kuwait with Saddam still ruling Iraq would have. Could the point have been more forcefully made that the dead Iraqi civilians have mainly been killed by the bad guys, who are willing to kill the people they supposedly fight for rather than let them enjoy some of the rights we take for granted? Or that resistance to an occupation is sometimes evil, particularly when it takes the form of deliberate attacks on civilians? Maybe if we had mentioned that the bad guys are doing pretty much the same thing that the KKK and other ex-Confederates and Confederate symphatizers were doing during and after Reconstruction, only with better weapons?
3. If Republican lawmakers are going to try and defile the sacred temple of Social Security, or Medicare, or public education, they might as well bring a blowtorch and see if they can burn it to the ground. It would make absolutely no difference in the opposition they get from the left (massive and unrelenting), but it would make a big difference in whether their supporters consider it worth their while to go vote for them. If they’re going to pretend to tinker around the edges and back down when the minority party squawks, then what’s the point of keeping them around?
They had their big chance to clear out a lot of the crap we’ve been putting up with for 70+ years, and they squandered it. And no, “replacing” social security with a forced savings program where the Feds get to pick which investments are acceptable is not going to cut it.
4. This isn’t the end of the world. Hezbollah still isn’t going to blow up shopping malls, schools, and offices in the Great Satan until Iran gets nuclear weapons and (thinks it) is immune to invasion. I’d say we’ve got a couple of years before that happens. And an actual nuke going off in the Great Satan shouldn’t happen for at least 10 years… there’ll need to be enough nuclear powers in the world that one of them thinks they can get away with it, and then it has to find a group that it can trust to hit the Great Satan and not some hated faction in the Middle East or even the home country. Plenty of time to get a cabin and stock the hell out of it.
Bush still has two years left. And the horse still might learn to sing.
Additional comments from readers:
A person’s life starts at conception, when his genetic die is cast and the
person starts forming. However, since the embryo initially lacks a brain
and nervous system it isn’t sentient and can’t suffer. It may be impossible
to pinpoint exactly when a person becomes sentient, but that doesn’t mean
you can’t say it isn’t sentient initially (precisional fallacy). If it’s
assumed there is nothing supernatural it seems justifiable to kill a
non-sentient embryo in order to save a fully formed, sentient person. If we
do have souls at conception then sacrificing an embryo isn’t justifiable.
Although there are other issues WRT destroying embryos I think the main one
is people’s beliefs in a soul.