By John Zavrel
Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, will address the Democratic convention on July 27, 2004, in support of stem-cell research.
Reagan, who lives in Seattle with his wife Doria, a clinical psychologist, said that he "had a nice chat" on the phone with Kerry about the invitation. Reagan, who is 46 years old, is a registered independent. He said that President Bush "has made some terrible mistakes," most notably, attacking Iraq, Reagan also opposes Bush's stand on stem-cell research. He said that he would vote for Kerry, however, "as a way to defeat Bush."
Reagan and his mother, Nancy Reagan, are passionate advocates for stem-cell research, which could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's disease, among other disorders. After a 10-year battle against Alzheimer's, Ronald Reagan died June 5 at age 93. "This gives me a platform to educate people about stem-cell research," Reagan said. "The conservative right has a rather simplistic way of characterizing it as baby killing. We're not talking about fingers and toes and brains. This is a mass of a couple hundred undifferentiated cells."
The Democratic Party's platform calls for lifting restrictions on research using stem cells from human embryos. Bush signed an executive order in August 2001 that limited federal help to financing stem-cell research on embryonic stem-cell lines then in existence. He said such a limit would not require the destruction of any more embryos.
Ron Reagan said that he would not attend the planned tribute to his father at the Republican convention, which is planned to take place between August 30--September 2, 2004 in New York.
"The Republican Party now is not the Republican Party of my father. "I don't think, in good conscience, I could take the chance that somebody could read that as an endorsement of this administration," he said. "I'll support any viable candidate who can defeat Bush."
Copyright 2004 West Art, Prometheus 93