Thursday, October 26, 2006

I attended Washington University during William Danforth's last year as Chancellor, and I admired what he did in making Wash U. and elite university, so going attacking him feels a bit like I'm attacking my own grandfather.


The ad that ran tonight featuring Dr. Danforth saying something like, "we enjoy watching the Cardinals play baseball, but when it comes to important medical issues, I hope Missourians will listen to experts."


First of all, which medical school did Sheryl Crow attend, again? How about Michael J. Fox? Or even your brother, former Senator John Danforth. Oh, that's right, they're not medical experts, are they? They're celebrities Amendment 2 supporters brought in and put in front of the cameras in the hopes that we'd be so star-struck that we'd go along with whatever they tell us. But those opposed run an ad with the Cardinals #3 starting pitcher, and now we shouldn't listen to anybody but experts? Right. I anxiously await Missouri cures pulling all the ads from endorsers who do not possess medical degrees, and removing the names of "Civic, Business, Government & Faith Organizations," "African American Leaders," and, for heaven's sake "Faith Leaders," because, as Dr. Danforth said, Missourians should only listen to medical experts. Anyone else's opinion is irrelevant.

Secondly, think about the attitude Dr. Danforth is inviting us to have. Chill out, Missourians, don't think about what those silly baseball players have to say, don't think at all. The experts say it's good; that ought to be good enough for us.

I seem to remember being invited to have this attitude about four years ago, and now our country is mired in a civil war half the world away.

UPDATE: I should mention that the context is an ad featuring Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan, among others, opposing Amendment 2.

While I'm here, I have to rant a bit about the lack of savviness on display here. On the other side, we have an ad by a well-liked actor best known for his roles in sitcoms and comedy movies. One theme of the debate is that it's a choice between scientific advancement and religious fundamentalism.

So, how do we begin our response? We start with an actor best (perhaps only) known for portraying Jesus in a film that many had derided as anti-Semitic (for now, it doesn't matter whether it was in fact anti-Semitic, what matters is the perception) directed by someone who recently was shown making an anti-Semitic tirade. In case any viewers didn't make the connection, this actor then mutters something in Aramaic, so it's ultra-clear that opposition to Amendment 2 is fueled by Mel-Gibson style religion.

The appeal to those who have not already committed to voting against Amendment 2 is not at all clear to me, but the turn-off is.
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