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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

I like to believe that I'm a tolerant individual. I believe I can accept that people might have different opinions from me and I still respect them, in spite of our differences. I honestly believe that I could have a spirited political discussion with just about anyone I know and walk away from it still friends. So what is it about our president then, that makes even my nose hairs curl in disbelief and my "Come Closer So I Can Slap You" tee shirt rattle the dresser drawer in a desperate plea to be released?

Let's recap for a minute:
  • Violence in Iraq is as bad as ever with no sign of abating
  • The entire Middle East teeters on the brink of war
  • North Korea is playing with nuclear missiles
  • The oil companies are poised to reap another round of record profits
  • The price of one gallon of gas is roughly the same as a McDonald's combo meal, or a full tank of gas in a SUV in Caracas, Venezuela, or meals for an entire day if you follow the diet on this University of Alberta site
  • We're bracing for another extreme hurricane season while much of the Gulf coast is still recovering from Katrina
  • The national minimum wage, $5.15, hasn't been increased since 1997; hat $5.15 is worth about $4.00 today
  • A minimum wage worker who earns $10,700 annually is earning $6,000 less than the poverty level for a family of three
Rather than continue with this list, which I'm sure I could do for a few hours, I'll stop now and reflect on the fact that our president used the only veto of his presidency to deny federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. At the same time he's determined to save all of those microscopic cells, W is avoiding the thousands of children already born with life threatening conditions that the results of stem-cell research might eventually cure. He is also avoiding the majority of Americans who've made it clear that they support funding such research.

Instead, W continues to court the narrow bloc of Christian evangelical voters who make up his most conservative base. How easy it is to placate one group when you don't have to look into the eyes of those you are sacrificing. Why must those who are already living be given short shrift while "the cells possibly forming persons to be" are revered as sacred? Do we lose that sacredness of life once we are born? Is it our lot to endlessly sacrifice the living to make way for the might-bes?

Was this really THAT important, Mr. President? Or was it just another Terri Schiavo moment, similar to the late-night, heroic flight back to Washington for a dramatic bill signing? You'll understand my suspicion, I'm sure. After all, the intended audience was exactly the same.

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