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Saturday, November 15, 2003

America, We Need To Talk ©
By Marvin Galloway

Exchange between two Washington Lobbyists at a recent costume party:
Woman, dressed in a donkey costume: “Knock knock.”
Man, dressed in an elephant costume: “Who’s there?”
Woman: “Clone.”
Man: “Clone who?”
Woman: “Don’t know, Senate hasn’t decided yet.”
Man smiles while staring at the wall with a far-away look in his eyes, then lifts his trunk, downs his drink, and heads for the bar, shaking his head, knowingly.


***

At the turn of the tumultuous twentieth century, a distinguished elderly journalist was guest speaker at a Washington Press Club luncheon for journalism students. Jack Anderson asked of his youthful audience, ‘who rules America; who is the sovereign of this nation?’ Not surprisingly, his resounding answer was, ‘We The People’.

We citizens of America are the sovereigns of this nation, though the way some elected representatives conduct themselves while in office you might be hard pressed to convince them of that truth.

We The People elect representatives at the state and federal level whom we task with doing our business … when things are running according to the founders’ designs, that is. It is unsettling to realize that events and discoveries at this time in our nation’s history tend to separate us from the decision making process.

If We The People are to be more in charge, we must have a better grasp of that which our elected representatives are addressing. Case in point: as this is being written, in the Fall of 2003, there are two bills currently developing in the United States Senate that address human cloning; one bill would ban all human cloning, while the other bill would ban human reproductive cloning yet make it legal to do human cloning for research purposes. But all human cloning is reproductive, at the start, else the desired parts of the clone wouldn’t match the tissues of the parent of the clone.

To understand the differences in cloning bills requires some basic understanding of the biological processes. [Differences are claimed between reproductive cloning and what is loosely called research cloning—someone tried to call it therapeutic cloning, but that didn’t hide the tissue harvesting future reality enough for comfort. Really, it is the end use for the clone that determines the difference in characterization … just ask Senator Orrin Hatch, he’ll tell you there’s a difference!]

The biological information required to understand cloning in general is not so abstract that the average citizen cannot grasp it, if the basics are presented in clear terms and facts are not hidden via technical flourishes by scientists overly proud of their accomplishments … those scientists who ignore all but their own moral perspective.

Some scientists will assert that they take no moral position. But they’re as human as any other member of human society, so they can’t be as unbiased as they would have us believe. Humanity ought to have learned that lesson given the history of chem-bio weaponry ‘baggage’ nations have carried into the twenty-first century. Not until decades after World War II does the public finally discover the extent to which Japan, Germany, Russia, and the United States built up stockpiles of pestilence and poisons. Nearly a half a century after the fact, the public learns the extent to which researchers in Japanese and German chem-bio weaponry were employed after WW II, by the Soviet Union and the United States, to further their stockpiles of horrific weapons during the Cold War. Those weapons programs and the pestilence produced by them still loom as threat to life on earth, as a new source of maniacal totalitarianism arises in the Middle East to spread around the world!

A bill making it legal to do research cloning will set a dangerous precedent, at least dangerous to a segment of the populace and, many believe, humanity in general. To explain these technological achievements in accessible language is a formidable task, but not impossible, if someone will just do it.

Ask yourself, ‘If our Senators were debating whether to knowingly fund research into a doomsday bomb that if ignited would deplete all the oxygen on the planet, would We The People approve of that?’ Doubtful, and it is not too great an exaggeration to assert that human cloning holds nearly as dangerous a potential for the human species—over time—as the outlandish example just offered.

We The People have little or no idea what are the details of cloning, details of the different bills, and details of future impact upon our civilization. Why? … Because the facts have been kept in the abstract by scientists wanting to do the research and elected representatives in agreement with those scientists.

There is vast wealth to be gained by those who learn to harness the science, as long as the people don’t object to the methodologies. But how can the people object if they don’t understand what it is that the scientists want to do? And are there reasonable alternate ways to reach the medical goals?

Gradual application of technologies not well understood by the voting populace leads down slippery slopes that arrive at horrific ends The People would likely avoid, if we but understood the real destiny of the slippery slopes. Case in point, the abortion debate in America, now more than thirty years tied in a Gordian knot, tells us that we ought to get our facts straight and have open, honest debates, before small interest groups impose their will, their morality, their ethic upon the entire nation.

The court case, Roe v Wade, circa 1973, led to the horrors of partial birth fetacide in the name of a woman’s right to choose, circa 2003. Did anyone ask American voters in 1972 whether they would authorize planned parental partial-birth fetacide of healthy, sensing children as a means for a woman or couple to avoid the responsibilities of an already alive baby conceived via behavior willingly engaged in? No, but that horrific reality is where we are, debating in the Fall of 2003 whether to ban a grisly way of killing alive unborn children, debating whether to keep legal planned parental partial-birth infanticide in the name of ghostly application of court rulings that came before the Roe decision and with the Roe decision accelerated our descent along the slippery slope of killing alive unborn children!

[Once individual humanity before birth is truly understood, it is no exaggeration to characterize partial birth fetacide as partial birth infanticide. Fetal ability to live outside the womb now reaches back to 22 weeks from conception (40 weeks is normal term to birth), and partial birth abortion is the most used method for killing the unborn from about week 18 all the way to birth. Those unborn babies are being killed in the name of a woman’s right to choose infanticide rather than have the already alive child continue their own individual lifetime.]

Did the 1973 court decision that de-legitimized state abortion laws nation-wide actually accomplish the dehumanization of the alive, viable unborn? No, the Roe decision was but one large slide along an already slippery slope, where personal liberty and personal pursuit of happiness were trumping personal right to life for the vulnerable. The nearly unopposed litany of lies from those demanding federal abortion legalization is why the slippery slope got steeper and more perilous with the Roe decision by the Supreme Court. It was difficult to imagine in 1973 that lawyers and physicians would tell lies to the Supreme Court, and that the Court would allow the lies to carry the day! A close reading of History reveals that is exactly what brought about the legalization of abortion on demand in America more than three decades ago.

This nation need not take a slide along a new slippery slope that includes in vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell harvesting, and foretells human cloning for body parts. But to avoid the slide, We The People must have basic facts with which to discuss the honest perils and with which to discern the half-truths and outright lies already sullying the national discussion.

Somehow, We The People will have to make up our individual minds whether we want certain lines of research to proceed—with our blessing, or whether we will demand that our elected representatives ban certain manipulation with the earliest manifestations of human lives.

{ To illustrate the importance of knowing more about cloning: in February 2002, scientists at Texas A&M University reported successful cloning of a pet tabby cat. Cats are in the category of animals called mammals, the category in which we humans are also placed. But the clone cat was not visually an exact duplicate of the parent cat, even after the many, many failed attempts to duplicate the parent cat. Soon after announcing their success, the University entered into a partnership with a biotech firm, Genetic Savings and Clone (catchy name that), a company that plans to clone pets for their loving owners.}

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