Ron Reagan Jr. opened his comments at the convention with a refrain he’s been offering up in interviews for a couple of weeks:
“A few of you may be surprised to see someone with my last name showing up to speak at a Democratic convention. Let me assure you, I am not here to make a political speech, and the topic at hand should not – must not – have anything to do with partisanship.”
For Reagan, the speech may not have been political. It may have been solely about this administration’s squelching of scientific advances. This attempt to halt science has been answered in part by a California bill that could put billions back into stem cell research in the state with the most researchers.
For Reagan, ultimately, his speech may have been more about religion than it was about either science or politics.
Remember the comments he made at his father’s funeral:
“Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.”
So was it political? Was it about science? Was it about religion? Of course. Of course. And of course. See the real issue here is that while Reagan may see some subtle difference between speech that is political, religious or scientific, those who banned stem cell research make no such distinction.
And that makes it political whether it should be or not.