No Ill Motives

This is a letter I sent to the Editors of the Houston Chronicle regarding their editorial about Rick Perry and stem cells, titled: Joint Ventures. Originally posted at their website.


I am neither a supporter of Gov. Rick Perry nor an expert on stem cells, but it seems to me that your criticism of the governor’s role in the passage of legislation regarding stem-cell therapies, set forth in your editorial, may be unfair.

In short, your position is that the governor is promoting stem cells, that he is promoting them as a business proposition, that the legislation could yield financial benefit to the governor’s doctor (a Dr. Jones), and that there is something wrong with all of that.

If a governor or legislator is to be forbidden to support any legislation that could personally benefit either himself or his doctor, regardless of the fact that he or she (and the doctor) might be just a tiny fraction of the total number of possible beneficiaries of the legislation, how could we conduct a government?

Is there even such a thing as a law that could not possibly benefit the governor who signed it or the legislators who voted for it?

Is there such a thing as a law that cannot possibly be viewed as a “business proposition” – that would not affect any business’ behavior?

If your implication is that the governor’s support has been bought and paid for by Dr. Jones or anyone else, that might be a legitimate objection, but I have found no allegation of any such corruption.

I fail to see the relevance of the governor’s opposition to embryonic stem cell therapies. If his opposition to such therapies may have led to his interest in the development of additional or alternative therapies, shouldn’t we all cheer the man, rather than trying to find bad motives? What about all the potential beneficiaries of the legislation? It is my understanding that stem cell therapy is believed by many physicians and researchers to hold great promise as a potential cure or treatment for multiple sclerosis.

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