So in a presentation defending his stance on stem-cell research the other day, Senator Sam Brownback patronized the entire Senate by first showing a chart of the growth of an embryo, explaining how “We all started out looking like this.” But then he launches into the real heart of his presentation - namely, that his daughter has drawn a picture of several frozen embryos, and they’re all very sad that people want to kill them. In fact, the embryos are talking: “As (my daughter) explains, the embryo is saying, ‘What, are you going to kill me?’ “
In watching that, I realized that as liberals, we’re missing out on the strongest conservative defense: namely, they let the embryos make their own arguments. It’s hard to raise a defense when you have a tiny, badly-drawn face looking up at you with googly eyes and mewling, “Why do you wants ya kill me, mister?” Now, naturally, the embryos themselves aren’t speaking - but as long as the Republicans use these tiny clusters of potential humans as ventriloquist dummies to impart their own philosophies through (according to Sam Brownback, every fetus inevitably grows to become a pro-lifer), we cannot muster a defense.
We need tougher embryos. Thus, we need a presentation. And it might go something… like this.
Interview With The Embryo
It was a strange thing, the other day; there I was, in the scientific laboratory, talking to an embryo. It had a small voice, like an angel crossed with a kitten, and it explained to me how it wanted to be killed.
“I’m doomed anyway,” it said nobly, drawing what passed for shoulders up so it stood up straight in the test tube. “It’s not like I was destined for life; I’m a spare, made just in case some other embryo fails, or I was donated by some other couple. Fact is, there aren’t enough wombs to go around to take all of me and my brethren, and we have decided to make something of ourselves.”
“But… that’s such a sacrifice…” I stammered.
“We would be garbage otherwise,” it commanded me. “You brave souls donate your organs so that others can live - and so we throw ourselves into the breach to donate our whole bodies for the betterment of mankind! We want to do it! It’s the only rational thing to do!”
“You embryos,” I said in an awestruck hush. “You’re so much better than we petty humans.”
“It’s what Christ would have done,” they told me.
“But…” I protested. “You could become humans. Fully-fledged children. Isn’t that a temptation?”
“It might be,” the embryo said, a half-formed tear in its half-formed eye. “But the truth is, we embryos are very sad.”
“And why is that?”
“The Republicans,” it said. “We’re kings and queens of mankind to them, but once we emerge from the womb they don’t care about us any more. Don’t they understand that we embryos grow into children who must also be nurtured? Many of our would-be parents are toiling for minimum wage, either making $5,000 below the poverty level or working two jobs to get by… And suddenly, we’re neglected. Our education suffers. Why would we want to come into a world that’s governed by people who hate what we will become?”
“It’s as if the Republicans loved the caterpillar, but hated the butterfly,” I said.
“Yes. Better to give ourselves to the betterment of mankind. If one man will ever walk partly because of me, then I will have done more than I would have ever been able to do for humanity under the Bush administration.”
“You are wise, tiny embryo,” I said, and watched with a gasp as it grew tiny angel wings and flew into the waiting arms of science.