Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Michael and Rush

I was listening to Rush's show this week when he made his comments about Michael J. Fox. I sort of cringed when Rush said MJF was "faking" his illness in the ad - I knew what Rush meant to express, but felt he chose the wrong words to express it. He wasn't suggesting that MJF was faking about his Parkinson's in general, only that he was faking the extreme tremors in the ad.

Okay, so maybe that's a small distinction, but it is true - Rush wasn't saying that MJF doesn't have Parkinson's disease.

Although I personally don't believe that MJF was acting or exaggerating the effects of his condition, it is worth noting that he once testified before Congress without taking his medication in order to make his tremors more pronounced, so as to better demonstrate the ravages of his illness. Clearly, he knows the visual impact his tremors have when talking about his illness. I also won't deny that Michael's ad is compelling, which I suppose is the point. However, if the substance of his ads are misrepresenting the facts (which Rush claims they are), then that has to be addressed. Also, if Michael wants to throw his lot into the fight, then his actions and his motives become open to criticism; perhaps the Democrats were counting on no one having the nerve to do so. This, of course, is a favorite tactic of theirs - find messengers who are immune to attack based on the severity of their circumstances. This keeps the debate focused on the purely emotional rather than on the purely factual. Oftentimes, this indicates a lack of substance in one's position.

I am in favor of expanding stem cell research; however, I want a debate grounded in facts, not on emotion or sympathy.

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