Saturday, October 09, 2004


How comforting to know that President Bush respects life, or so he told us in last evening’s debate in St Louis. Per the President, a frozen embryo deserves the same legal protection as an individual possessing a birth certificate and this is why he opposes stem cell research critical to curing maladies such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases as well as for developing treatments for spinal cord injuries; embryos are destroyed in the process of garnering the stem cells and thus “murdered” in Mr. Bush’s opinion.

But a closer look suggests his respect for life (as he might put it) is most respectful when it’s politically expedient, i.e., there are millions of Christian fundamentalists and right-to lifers who are willing to cast a vote based on this single issue, regardless of how destructive the President’s economic policies may be to their checking accounts.

Fast forward a few years from the embryonic stage and now let’s say you’re 18 or 19 years old, preferably male, in good physical condition and capable of carrying a gun, driving a tank or flying a jet. Whoops, life suddenly loses some respect in the President’s eyes, especially if you’re not savvy enough or, as was his case, conveniently connected in order to steer clear of combat.

In fact, a life becomes nothing more than part of a political balance sheet, inventory to be used as management sees fit. The moral rationale employed is that sacrifice is often necessary to sustain freedom against ones enemies. And under any number of other circumstances, that is true. But this moral underpinning quickly collapses when warfare is made a discretionary instrument of foreign policy and your rationale for a pre-emptive attack (WMDs) is proven false. War is not golf, and as hard as the administration tries to take Mulligans on its reasons for invading Iraq (‘We needed to establish a democracy in the Mid East’; ‘We had to free Iraqi’s from the grip of the sadistic tyrant and those people are better off today’; and most recently, ‘We were preventing Saddam from re-starting his dormant WMD program.’) no rationale for this conflict can explain why the administration has been so callous about deploying troops under inexcusable circumstances.

How respectful of life is a President who is willing to send troops to battle without proper equipment and lacking both viable occupation and exit strategies? How respectful of life is an administration that declared “Mission Accomplished” with a White House controlled television event aboard an aircraft carrier 30 miles from San Diego that required more planning and strategy than was afforded the occupation of Iraq? How respectful of life is the same administration that failed to heed the advice of its own generals and commit enough troops to lock down the country and prevent the kind of insurgency currently taking American and Iraqi lives by the dozens? (As of 10/8, over 85% of US fatalities in Iraq have come after the President’s photo opportunity.)

According to Bush, it’s noble and right to sacrifice a life of more than 18 years to the greater good and security of the country; a life that has certainly cultivated relationships, loves, responsibilities and obligations. Yet, it’s somehow evil to sacrifice an embryo devoid of those human characteristics to aid those with the debilitating diseases that cause untold suffering to victims and their families and often exhaust financial resources.

A cynic might say Bush respects the existence of human embryos only because he wants to give them the chance to become soldiers. A realist might say we should be so lucky to have a president capable of such a sophisticated thought.

A soldier in Iraq might say fuck you very much and punch his ballot for someone other than George for two good reasons: One, because without stem cell research his comrades who suffered spinal chord injuries haven’t got a chance; and two, neither does he given how this President shows respect for life.


Thank God, Jacques Derrida is dead.

Or, thank Jacques, God is Dead Derrida.

Or thank dead, God is Derrida Jacques.

Or, maybe Derrida God dead Jacques thank is.

Any way you want to interpret it, a decomposing deconstructionist is a greater gift to humanity than one who is still writing.

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