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'Whose Business Is It?' page 2
Presidential campaign will put a spotlight on which issues are, or aren't, anybody else's business

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Date published: 7/18/2004


You can make gay marriage your business in a good way if you want to set up a couple of friends on a date. Remember, though, whether you set up a guy and a guy, or a girl and a girl, to be certain that they're gay, or they'll be giving you the business for sure.

Stem-cell research. Uh-oh, this is the one that Republicans think shouldn't be anybody's business because the cells used are derived from human embryos, or future babies.

To begin with, the embryos are developed in a laboratory, not a woman, and when used they are actually about eight months and 25 days away from being babies. Both parties involved have provided their consent, because it is their business that's going into the petri dish.

Stem cells, according to the National Institutes of Health, offer the prospect--the prospect--of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat Parkinson's disease, spinal-cord injury, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. The research could indirectly advance work on Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

So stem-cell research is in everyone's best interest, and is therefore everybody's business.

Here's another life-or-death issue: the right to die. The Republicans think this is everybody's business--the courts', the legislatures', the church's, and so on. But it's not.

What's the value of the individual if one is not allowed to control one's ultimate destiny? It is the definitive "my own business."

Even legal documents expressing one's preferences are being challenged by overzealous relatives and third parties. Still, legal steps are the best way to make sure your wishes aren't ignored if you can't speak for yourself.

In the meantime, turn to your spouse or significant other right now, and if you'd rather not be kept alive by extraordinary measures, say so. That makes it a personal business arrangement that can be legalized later.

Oh, those pesky school vouchers. The Republicans would have you believe that they are the business only of those families lucky enough to obtain them. There's nothing wrong with a few kids getting a good education, except when it's at the expense of all other kids. And that makes it everybody's business.

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