Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hello Everyone,

I've been dismayed with the most recent rhetorical turn that the presidential campaign has taken, in the wake of Christopher Reeve's death. Unfortunately, the Kerry / Edwards campaign has been shamelessly using Chris Reeve's political support, and the sensitive topic of stem cell debate, to appeal to the AB and 'disability-friendly' community. This past weekend, the rhetoric went over the top, with Kerry's claim of a personal call from Reeve supporting his comments and performance in Friday evening's second debate. This 'call' was more likely an email to Reeve. Or was Reeve really in good enough health to speak with friend like John Kerry that soon before his death on Saturday?

And now we much endure John Edwards' pandering comments on the campaign trail in support of stem cell research, to the effect "... when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." Ugggh! Who does that appeal to? Liberal do-gooders, but certainly not activists for disability rights. Kerry spoke of his support for Christopher Reeve's goal of walking agin in debate two. But when Kerry gets a little carried away, adopting Reeve's hyperbolic rhetoric as his own, it is embarrassing to then see John Kerry's own running mate making things worse. Much worse. Check out 'Oy Vey!' to see how this debate is playing with another disability rights advocate.

Keep an eye on this space for another post this evening after debate number three. Please feel free to post your thoughts and comments - following the hotlink below.

Mike Dorn
Coordinator of Disability Studies
Temple University

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike, I enjoyed reading through your blog. I did want to add in relation to your comments about whether Kerry actually had a phone conversation with Reeve. It sounds as if Reeve contacted Kerry and left a phone message, which is what Kerry said happened. Not that I don't disagree with the way the media and politicians are exploiting this issue, but I do think Reeve supported Kerry in bringing this issue into the forefront of the campaign. I think it's important to clarify this given all the misinformation out there.

Excerpt from Dana Reeve:
A Message from Dana Reeve
October 19, 2004

On Saturday, October 9th, Chris spent his last day of consciousness doing what he loved to do. He left a long phone message for Senator John Kerry lending his support and encouragement; he attended one of Will's hockey games, cheering as they won a huge victory, bursting with pride as Will was presented with the game puck for his outstanding playing that day. He and I spent the early evening on the phone and then he watched the Yankee game with Will and gobbled up one of his favorite meals, turkey tettrazini. His two grown children had just recently visited -- as they often do -- and we discussed in our phone conversation how great it was to have all of us together for his birthday two weeks before. Although he mentioned that his decubitus wounds were pretty bad and that he'd probably have to stay in bed the next day, he was not complaining -- his comments were, as usual, more of an observation than a complaint. He was excited about the upcoming release of his movie, The Brooke Ellison Story and very charged up about a recent visit to the Rehab Institute of Chicago where he had observed the Lokomat, a remarkable piece of automated locomotion therapy equipment used in a program we had funded through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
Late that night, weakened by infection and the barrage of maladies which can accompany paralysis, his body failed him. At only 52, it was far too soon. There was much he still wanted to accomplish. There was much his children had yet to learn from him. It is completely unfair, but life can be that way. So, what do we do now? I look to Chris. When he was faced with grief and loss and feelings of injustice -- the feelings we are all experiencing now -- what did he do? He made a decision to carry on, to fight for his beliefs, to do for others what he couldn't do for himself. He reached into that enormous and beautiful and generous heart of his and gave us his life. We can at the very least try to do the same. We owe him that much.
With warm thanks,
Dana Reeve

Already voted in WV :)
Kim Cordingly