Senator John Kerry
304 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Kerry,
I want to thank and compliment you for the classy, courageous way in which you handled the concession. It was a return to an old style of graciousness and statesman-like wisdom that is increasingly lost today. An army of lawyers would have produced much more mischief than mandate. Although to take the course you did opened you to criticism from some of your hardest-working supporters, it was still clearly the right thing to do. Your pledge to work together with the president is exactly what the country needs.
I am a pediatrician, a Christian and a moral conservative. Let me challenge you to consider three more stands that would be perhaps even harder, but also more important. Just as Clinton was the one to reform welfare, you may be the one to open the eyes of the Democratic Party to the substance of those moral issues that turned this election.
Firstly, please look carefully at the stem cell issue. The Bush policy did not cut off all hope of cures from stem cells. Actually, the most success has been with adult stem cells. Even though there are theoretical reasons to think that embryonic stem cells might be superior, the actual research leans strongly the other way and, in fact, there have been serious problems with the embryonic cells.
So, then, why has this not be clearly told? Aside from partisan gamesmanship, there is a strong connection with the ideological battle for abortion. Whether they recognize it consciously or not, pro-choice advocates probably sense that if the case is made that embryos cannot be used for spare parts, it might trigger a reassessment of the humanity of fetuses in general. Please look at the writings of Wesley J. Smith. For example, see “The Wrong Cure: Adult stem cells get the shaft.” http://www.nationalreview.com/smithw/smith200409090835.asp
Secondly, look at abortion itself. I do not think it is really possible to be personally opposed to abortion -- any more than it would be to be personally opposed to slavery -- and still stand by while the tragedy multiplies. I researched the post abortion syndrome a few years ago and even as a pro-lifer I was appalled by the lasting psychological trauma to the women involved. Please look at my paper “It's Not Good for Women (Or Men)” posted at http://rossolson.org/abortion/not_good.html and further at the work of David Reardon at http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/post_abortion_syndrome_character.asp.
Finally, and clearly the most difficult stand to take would be to examine the evidence that homosexuality is not a fixed biological characteristic (like race), but a pattern of behavior affected by both heredity and environment. In the case of males it is often related to a hunger for fatherly affection and acceptance. In the case of females it correlates highly with childhood sexual abuse, probably leading producing an aversion to men. When the attractions are acted upon, the habit-forming nature of sexual activity takes on a life of its own.
Homosexuality can be prevented in many cases and cured in others. When it is affirmed and encouraged, it spreads. See my short article “Just Suppose.” http://rossolson.org/homosexuality/just_suppose.html When it is acted out it leads to a shortened lifespan and high rates of physical and psychological morbidity. NARTH (http://narth.com ) and other organizations have done high quality research but have been frozen out of the media. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover has written a compassionate and powerful expose of the whitewash and its consequences in "Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth." It is not compassionate to affirm homosexuals in destructive behavior any more than it would be to affirm an alcoholic or even a smoker, but this subtlety is lost in the public portrayal of the issue.
I know I am being extremely optimistic to even think that your people will even read this message, much less pass it on to you, and I know that to change direction in any one of these areas would be extremely unlikely for a prominent public figure, but I want to try, and I pray that you will do the right thing.
By expanding on the courageous stand you have already taken, you may not only assure the future of your party, you will also make a major contribution to the future of the entire nation. Of course those people with the most extreme positions will reject you as vehemently as they rejected your opponent, but people of good will and truly love our country will at least stop to think when one they respect shows the willingness to re-examine important issues.
Ross S. Olson MD