In the dream…I was walking up the steps of the prestigious Washington University Campus here in St. Louis. A University where in the words of the famous baseball player we won’t mention in order so as you won’t remember. “I felt like I was in a different country.” It was a familiar place, as I use to go there when I was young; dreaming of what it must be like to have enough money to go to such an elite school.
You had to have had rich parents to go to this place, so it might as well have been Jupiter to this nobody.
Washington University has always been known for its excellent medical school. Now it consists of mostly Chinese, Indian, and foreign students. It is considered one of the top medical research centers in the United States, as it is not far from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, one of the top ten Hospitals in the country. I tell you this because here in Missouri we are being asked, just like California was asked, to vote yes on stem-cell research.
Michael J. Fox has been appearing on the commercials here, begging us to cure him.
I’m sure that’s why I had the dream….
There I was, walking up the long, white, stone steps…gazing up at the green Ivy on the huge stone arch entrance to the campus, now turning brown with autumn…what was I doing here? The World Series…the Cards and Tigers are tied. Where’s the game? Where’s Mel Gibson?
Suddenly I was in a dark room, and in the center of the room, was a long wooden table, like the one you would see out of a King Author, except it wasn’t round.
And around the table were sitting some pretty familiar faces: Michal J. Fox, Claire McCastkill, Charles Ostman (a scientist from Berkeley), James D. Watson, (discoverer double helix DNA) Dr. Danforth (father of former Senator John Danforth) and my little dog Zippy,…who was sitting in a chair next to Michael J. Fox.
“Hey, let’s get this over. This is your dream, and we have more important things to do besides spend time here, what do you want?” said John Danforth, who was sitting next to his famous doctor father. (Who is also doing commercials here for stem-cell approval?)
“Well, I live here in Missouri, and I just want put some questions to you guys, because frankly, I’m a little confused here on this stem-cell stuff. You guys are saying that if the stem-cell research gets lots of money from the federal government, all the cures for all the diseases on the earth are going to save everyone that has any disease---Gee, I’ve been watching Jerry Lewis telethons since I was a kid, and they still haven’t found a cure for muscular dystrophy. I don’t’ know how much longer Jerry can keep it up. He raises millions every year, and no cure. And how much money have been given to the March of Dimes, and to cancer and HIV, and still there is no cure? Why should stem-cell be any different when even venture capitalist won’t fund it because the cells from embryos have a tendency to grow tumors?”
Claire McCaskill, not looking her perky self since she knew I was an independent conservative and not likely to vote for her said; “Well, that’s the problem. We could cure all of humanity but because of you religious zealots who think that a bunch of cells is a baby, when it’s really just a bunch of cells, and has no idea it even exists and therefore feels no pain if it is killed, using it for the benefit of mankind to cure disease is the only way for all of humanity to go forward, instead of into the dark ages as you insist on keeping us because there is no God of the Bible you moron. You guys are holding back progress and all of humanity. “
“Well, isn’t a cell, even an hour after the sperm and egg join, genetically a different entity from the mother that’s carrying it?” I said. “I mean, she is “hosting’ it and caring for it, just as she would do once it was born and still growing? And besides, private companies are already doing this research in Stanford, and that company Geron has over 6 thousand patents on genes. Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, the founder of E-Bay: lots of people are pouring money for stem-cell research, why do the taxpayers ONCE again have to fund this stuff. Why do WE always have to pay the universities, who in turn get rich, while the students have to pay higher and higher tuition, unless of course if they are foreign, then they get a discount.”
If I was sounding a little jealous, I was.
“You may not clone people (even thought the amendment says you will be able to) but all these Chinese students working at the universities can steal whatever secrets that are found in the laboratories, and go back to China…what good are all your patents then? They do it with everything else? Just like everything, the American taxpayer pays for it, and the other countries Japan, China, go and make it and come back and charge us high prices. The taxpayers not only pay to protect their borders, they just take our technology.”
The man sitting in the corner, being ignored by everyone, James Watson, leaned back in his chair, and scratched his chin; he looked at Claire and spoke. “Yeah, it reminds me of all that I went through with the DNA stuff. (James Watson with Francis Click discovered the Double Helix of DNA) “
“Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were so excited about discovering the genetic makeup of humans that they started the Human Genome Project (international) mapping the genes. I quit in 1992 when I got into an argument with Bernadine Healy (Harvard) who insisted on patenting human cells, and genes, I still think that is dead wrong.”
Zippy “ruff, whooooo, ruff.”
“Why? Why can’t we patent a gene?” said Michael J. Fox. “Who cares who makes the money off these genes if it saves one life? If it gives us hope? Why do you always think scientists are going to do evil things with this stuff?”
For some reason, Michael was not moving around in my dream; “Hi Michael, hey I really loved you in all those Back to the Future movies!”
Michael, “Thanks, but really…did you know that in vitro fertilization they throw away about 100,000 of perfect eggs each year? They just kill them. Why can’t we use them?”
Nobody: “Well, I don’t know Michael, that’s a good question. Do these eggs belong to the donors? Aren’t the liberals always saying it’s a woman’s right to choose? And if she can get an abortion, then she has a right to choose to kill her vitro eggs. Maybe you should take that up with the Congress.”
“Anyway I it takes about 5 to 8 million harvested eggs just to make therapeutic cloning possible. That’s a lot of eggs for one cure. Already Russian girls and Chinese girls are selling eggs on the black market. That’s a lot of “potential life” being sacrificed for a few rich people.”
Michael, “Hey wait, what makes you think only the rich will get this? “
Nobody: “Well, being as there are so many people that can’t even afford to go to the doctor for a cold, what makes you think that insurance or Medicare is going to pay for this expensive treatment for nobody’s like me, especially if they are over 65?”
“Ruff...” said Zippy.
A man named Charles Ostman, who had up to this time been winking at Claire every time she made a grumpy face jumped in. “Look, it’s very important that we get started on this. All over the world they are already working on cloning, and if we don’t get started, we will be far behind. “
Nobody: “Oh, yeah, I heard you on Coast to Coast. You work for the Global Futures and the American Council for the United Nations University. You do work in artificial intelligence, nano electronics and Legendary Pharmaceuticals. I guess some of these body parts you want to clone will come in handy in inventing artificial brains, and nano transistor phones with human brains, or maybe you could make my dog speak---getting into those embryo cells opens up a whole new world of patents and products for you guys.”
Charles; “Hey, we need this. Our universities need the money. If we don’t get the money from the government, it’s going to be bad. It’s not smart to let private companies get these patents because they won’t share the knowledge with the rest of the scientists.
Nobody: “Hey, I thought that was the point. Don’t you think we could use more companies making products in the United States since we have lost our manufacturing bases and seem to be just a country of Wal-Marts, McDonalds, Starbucks, and gas stations? Is this all about giving the government more employees because we have no other industries? Or is this about competition with the scientists who work for the universities who want part of the big global pie? Any way you look at it, even if the cure comes, it will be at the expense of the poor guy, who will never benefit from it because Michael J. Fox, will pay 2 million for his cure, and the rest of us will not be able to afford it. So it’s another thing for the elites…because it’s all about the money.”
Michael: “Wait a minute; wouldn’t you want your dog cloned?”
Nobody; “The guy who had a pet cloning business claimed bankrupt. Zippy, do you want to be cloned?”
Everyone got up to go. They were all disgusted. “Well, you’re wrong…and you’re cruel and stupid.” I didn’t catch who said that.
It was just me and Zippy left.
I woke up…Zippy was licking my face. This was a good thing because, if she hadn’t I would have missed No. 22, the Cardinals player of the night hitting in the winning run. Cardinals won the game; we are up three games to one.
Still, I’m glad I had the dream. We all want to cure diseases. But if only the rich can afford the cures, why should the little guy pay for it? There are plenty of rich people already paying for it, now. And after all, it’s our choice to vote no on the amendment in Missouri, maybe Michael should just start his own telethon.
Zippy would watch.
Nobody’s Perfect; Okay, this is long I know, but to cover all the points of view it seemed necessary.
Nobody Knows; This research is being done as we speak. The MAIN reason this is being pushed in Missouri is to get Claire McCaskill elected over Jim Talent. They are just using stem cell research and Michael J. Fox as a final push to get her in, otherwise she might lose.
Nobody Cares; Most of this stuff about stem-cell is once again, promoting ideals against the religious view that the individual is important and every individual has a right to life, the conservative view, as oppose to every life should be sacrifice for the many, the liberal view.
I think enough boys are sacrificing their lives right now for the liberals to want to tax their wives at home for the cures that only they will be able to afford.