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President Bush and Obama on Stem Cells

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Paul Perry

Denise Hill

English 102

16 March 2015

President Bush and Obama on Stem Cells

Today, scientists have come closer then ever to treating life altering disease such as, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and even cancer. This has been researched through the use of undifferentiated stem cells. This means that these cells have yet developed into anything and are clean, untouched, and blank. They have the capability to almost heal and do anything in the human body. However, it is very controversially because obtaining the stem cells means taking it from an embryo, a three to five day old fetus.  This burden, on whether to allow it or not is put on one man. The Commander in Chief, head of the state, head of the government, and the leader of the executive branch, the President of the United States. The President takes on an extensive role in our everyday lives. He is the spokesperson for the majority of Americans and, for the most part, does what the mass of Americans want.  Only being able to run for two terms, eight years, some things change from President to President. Although George W. Bush’s attempts to sway Americans by using ethos and pathos, eight years later Barack Obama focuses on ethos and logos to lift the ban on embryonic stem cell research.

On August 9, 2001, President Bush gave a speech for the use of embryonic stem cells.  The main reason for this speech is to tell Americans on what he believed was right, and whether or not he was going to put more federal money towards this research.

Pathos is when the writer appeals to emotion, it is persuading someone by creating an emotional response. This rhetorical method can really persuade anyone in this argument because a larger topic of debate is whether or not the use of stem cells is morally right. Pathos can be found all throughout his speech, like when he refers to one of his friend’s family members with juvenile diabetes, making us feel a bit of sorrow and even relatable. In his speech, President Bush says,

“My position on these issues is shaped by deeply held beliefs.  I'm a strong supporter of science and technology, and believe they have the potential for incredible good -- to improve lives, to save life, to conquer disease. I have friends whose children suffer from juvenile diabetes.  Nancy Reagan has written me about President Reagan's struggle with Alzheimer's.  My own family has confronted the tragedy of childhood leukemia (President Discusses Stem Cell Research).”

This has pathos written all over it. President Bush is a fairly known Republican, Christian and conservative.  In the first sentence he refers back to his beliefs, Christianity, and that it goes against the word of God to take a life. Further along he even refers to a previous president and his struggle of Alzheimer’s. Moreover, to really connect with the audience, he brings in his own family and their troubles of leukemia.

        Later on through the speech, President Bush uses ethos. Ethos is the attempt to persuade an audience through the credibility or trustworthiness of the speaker.  Being the President of the United States, George W. Bush is a very trustworthy and credible man. Him being a strong Christian, he stands besides his morals. Thus, he believes that funding for stem cell research goes against these morals and does not allow it. Trusting what the president says, he said

“Embryonic stem cell research is at the leading edge of a series of moral hazards.  The initial stem cell researcher was at first reluctant to begin his research, fearing it might be used for human cloning.  Researchers are telling us the next step could be to clone human beings to create individual designer stem cells, essentially to grow another you, to be available in case you need another heart or lung or liver (President Discusses Stem Cell Research).”

George W. Bush being the president, the public is forced to believe this. He knows that cloning is not wanted and almost feared. He uses this to his advantage saying that embryonic stem cell research can lead to cloning of humans, but he does not talk about the successfulness of stem cells. He is against stem cells because of his morals.

Eight years later, President Obama is nominated for president. His entire campaign was that America needed change. He was Americas first African American President, going from a conservative Republican to a lenient, Democrat, things where bound to change.  President Obama lifted the ban that President Bush set forth by persuading Americans using pathos and logos.

        Much like President Bush, President Obama used his ability to sincerely touch citizens about lifting the ban on stem cells. This form of pathos was used in both debates, but the goals were different.  In President Obama’s speech in 2009, he says,

“As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research -- and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly (CBS).”

In this quote, president Obama refers to his faith, relating to the people on a religious level. He says that as human beings, we are here to look out for each other and end human suffering. The word suffering is a strong word that he uses to really touch the public. Later on he refers to stem cells, as the cure to this suffering, stem cell research should be granted.

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