John Kerry's radio address to the Nation
October 16, 2004
Good morning, this is John Kerry.
This past week, America lost one of its heroes and my friend, Christopher Reeve. Chris was one of the most hopeful people I’ve ever met. He treated every single day like a gift, and his life was a gift to all of us. His courage, compassion, and determination were an inspiration – and I’m confident that because of his work, millions of Americans will ultimately live healthier lives.
But the fact is that right now, we’re not doing everything we can to help Americans realize this dream. Three years ago, George W. Bush put in place a ban on federal funding for stem cell research – a ban that’s tied the hands of our scientists and shut down some of our most promising work on spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Parkinson’s and other life-threatening diseases.
Today, approximately 100 million Americans suffer from illnesses that may one day be treated or cured with stem-cell therapy. Stem cells may hold the key to treating heart disease and cancer. They may have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother’s memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson’s, or save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots.
By restricting stem cell research, President Bush has turned his back on this hope. He’s made the wrong choice to sacrifice science for extreme right-wing ideology. And right now, there is such possibility for treatments that could transform our lives – but because of the stem cell ban, they are still beyond our reach.
That’s not the American way. Here in America, we’ve always pushed the boundaries of knowledge and used the power of science to improve the lives of our people. The first car to roll off an assembly line was made right here in America. The first airplane took off from American soil. And the first footprints on the moon were left by an American astronaut. Now we stand at the edge of the next great frontier – but instead of leading the way, we’re stuck on the sidelines.
But President Bush just doesn’t get it. Faced with the facts, he turns away. Time and time again, he’s proven that he’s stubborn, out of touch, and unwilling to change course.
Leaders from both political parties – including Senators Orrin Hatch from Utah and John McCain from Arizona – both support stem cell research as well as many others. And the majority of Americans do. But instead of listening to them, this Administration claims that supporting stem cell research creates false hope.
Think about that for a minute. Imagine if we’d told researchers studying polio they were creating false hope. Imagine if we’d told those working to eradicate small pox they were creating false hope. It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? But that’s exactly what this Administration is saying to scientists who want to study Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, spinal cord injuries and so many other debilitating conditions.
And that’s just an honest difference of opinion between George Bush and me. I believe that when it comes to our most promising research – there’s no such thing as false hope. I know that when we put our best minds to work studying our worst diseases – time and time again, we find treatments, and cures, and vaccines. But when we don’t – when we have a President who dismisses our scientists and turns his back on science – then we say no to discovery, no to innovation, and no to hope for so many Americans
When I’m President, we’re going to stop saying no. We’re going to say yes. We’re going to lift the ban on federal funding for stem cell research once and for all. We’re going to make funding for this research a top priority in our government agencies, our universities, and our medical community. And we’ll continue to lead the world in great discoveries – all while upholding the highest ethical standards. That’s the right choice for America.
Christopher Reeve once remarked that “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” Together, we’re going to fight to make Chris’ impossible dream a beautiful reality. We’re going to once again say yes to science, yes to discovery, and yes to a new era of hope for all Americans.
Thanks for listening.