I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 17 years old, and seated in a local restaurant, having dinner on my break from my job at the supermarket. As was my habit, I pulled out a Marlboro…“flicked my Bic”…and noticed Mom and Dad outside the window, watching Junior “light up.” I’m sure they were at least a BIT amused by the “I Love Lucy” skit that transpired next. I quickly tried to make the lighter, and the cigarette, disappear into my pocket...and desperately attempted to maintain my composure…as my ears turned a bright shade of crimson. It didn’t matter to my parents that all my friends were nicotine addicts; the rule for their children was NO SMOKING! Granted, that was way back when there were clear guidelines for behavior, and the pervasive presence of that elusive quality known as a “conscience.”
Fast-forward to the 21st century. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, PA Republican Arlen Specter, and a few of their colleagues are on the right side of the cloning debate—introducing a strict policy against the practice, with heavy penalties for violators of the ban. But it’s a qualified position; the legislation the group of senators proposes comes with a caveat that would permit embryonic stem cell research. The justification offered at Senator Feinstein’s website is a series of headlines from foreign newspapers and periodicals, proclaiming “Eastern Asia powers ahead on stem cell research,” and “
Like my sainted parents, we must make a clear, non-equivocating statement with every stand we take—especially when human life is in question. A strong position against human cloning doesn’t need to be tempered by a concession on embryonic stem cells. For once, let’s just let our “no” be no.