I've been thinking alot about the recent veto of HR 810 by George Bush. Thinking is putting it mildly. Fuming, crying, feeling numb, amazed, not surprised, resigned, enraged. You know, the whole rollercoaster of feelings. I was thinking about how much I hate the reality of medical research as a political pawn. How wrong that is, and yet how it has also been the case throughout history.
Beyond the frightening moralistic excuses given, Bush's veto of HR 810 feels so un-American to me. So anti-progress and advancement. So backward and misguided. When have we ever said, "no, I think we'll pass on innovation or medical advancement or progress?"
And as if that isn't enough, the "reason" given for his action, is couched in the language of drama, diversion and escalation, with Bush's spokesman saying the president considered stem cell research to be murder, rather than what it actually is, which is the use of existing fertility clinic stem cells alread slated for destruction. I am so tired of being manipulated and handled. I am so tired of other people (who's values I do not agree with) having the power to frame up the conversation from their viewpoint alone. I was struck by the press conference Bush staged after the signing of the veto surrounded by the "snowflake babies", that the ramifications of his actions, the results of the diversion of my tax dollars from stem cell research, did not have a face or name or time on national tv. All the children and adults who are being diagnosed today, next week, next year, all the courageous people who have lived with this disease, day in and day out for decades, well, they don't have an image. As far as this veto is concerned, we are invisible and quiet and deniable.
I loved Kerri's recent post about all this. Eloquent, smart and moving, as always. I also loved people's responses. It felt good to know that I'm not alone in my sadness and frustration. And all that I read makes me want to act. So the first small thing I'm doing today, now that I'm feeling less numb, is I'm calling all my congresspeople and senator's, Republican and Democrat alike, to thank them for voting for overriding Bush's veto (in Oregon, the entire delegation voted to override the veto). One call in a congressional office is counted as 10 people feeling the same way, so calling really makes a difference. I'm going to thank them as a diabetic. One real person, who was affected by their vote. My one voice to their ear. It's a very small start, but a start nonetheless.