License to Kill

The following quotes are all drawn from news accounts of the last few days on the stem cell bills.

Sen. Sam Brownback, on stem cell research: “We all have a duty to protect the innocent, and this vote represents a failure to recognize the scientific fact that stem cell research that destroys embryos kills young human children.”And “We simply should not go down the road of using taxpayer dollars to kill young humans.”

Rep. Tom DeLay on stem cell research: “In the life of men and nations some mistakes you can’t undo,” DeLay said as he closed the House debate. “If we afford the little embryo any shred of respect and dignity we cannot in good faith use taxpayer dollars to destroy them.” And “That is the essence of the experiment: Kill some in the hopes of saving others.”

Rep. Mike Pence on stem cell research: ” I would ask, where is the consent of the American taxpayer who believes, as I do, as millions do, that life begins at conception? Where is their consent about the use of their tax dollars for this research?”

Where was my consent, Mr. Pence, when you invaded another country and used my friends and family and their loved ones to do it? Where was my consent when you cast your vote in favor of this war?

Where was my consent, Tom DeLay, when you chose to kill some Iraqis in the — at best — misguided attempt to prevent American deaths from terrorism? Where was my consent when you killed to save us from a threat that didn’t exist? When you voted yes, when you backed this war with your words but not your worthless body, where was your concern for my consent then?

Senator Brownback, honestly, where should we start? Taxpayer dollars have been used to kill young humans since the first taxpayer dollar was collected, and the only prayer we’ve ever had is that their deaths are in service to some noble and necessary cause and not for a lie. In the past four years, taxpayer dollars have funded some of the worst depravities this country has ever known. Taxpayer dollars keep the lights on in Guantanamo Bay. Taxpayer dollars keep the doors open (and locked shut, and guarded by dogs) at Abu Ghraib. Lest you forget, taxpayer dollars napalmed Vietnam, and taxpayer dollars pay your salary, and for neither of those was I ever asked for my consent, so don’t you come to me now with this nonsense.

America isn’t a salad bar. You don’t get to check off a list of the things you want to support and the things you don’t. We live in a democracy so that means I pay for tanks when I don’t want to, and you pay to feed poor kids when you don’t think they deserve it, and hopefully we live in some kind of middle ground where nobody on the whole pays for a government they find outright intolerable, though you guys are pushing my limits these days. Don’t start getting all sanctimonious with me about what you pay for and what you get. Your party may think of this government like one big Burger King but so long as there is more than one person out there who disagrees with you, there will be things on this earth you find disagreeable. I’d like to feel sorry for you, that your beautiful mind is taxed so, but I’m afraid there’s a war on and we just don’t have time to indulge you.

I did not consent to give billions to Halliburton. I did not consent to give millions to Chalabi. I sent you thousands of my taxpayer dollars last year and nowhere in my tax forms was there a little checkoff box: Would you like the government to burn and maim children with this, ma’am. Would you give the government permission to kill your neighbor’s son in Fallujah, ma’am. Would you let the government torture and slaughter and pillage and rape and then sit there and watch while those who voted for that kind of torment talk about how the killing of people is wrong.

It isn’t your birthday I know of, Senator, so I’m under no obligation to give you a gift. You and your colleagues may not have the consent of the governed to (in your words) destroy life in this case, but all I’m saying is that it hasn’t hindered you unduly thus far. You seem quite capable of killing just fine without my name on a permission slip.