Half a century ago, my wife Gloria was attacked by a sexual predator.
He was a co-worker, on his last day at work in their office. He had asked Gloria to stay late, and help him pack.
"I had my back to him, when he reached around me and grabbed me inappropriately," said Gloria, "And he wouldn't let go."
Somehow, she wrestled away, and snatched up a piece of office equipment, a three-hole paper punch. She swung it behind her like a baseball bat.
"I told him I would crack his skull if he came at me again," said Gloria.
He shrugged, picked up a box they had been packing, and left the room.
Gloria took off her high heels, ran to her car, locked herself in, and sat there, shaking.
When she reported the incident to her boss the next day, he told her later there was nothing that could be done... nothing that could be done...
Hold that thought, please, we will come back to it.
But now another nightmare, something that happens to hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Imagine if your doctor had just diagnosed you with end-stage heart failure.
You have a 50% chance of living even two more years -- and there is no cure.
What would it mean to you, if the doctor suddenly snapped her fingers and said: "Oh, wait, I forgot, there is a chance to rebuild your heart, repairing the damage with new and healthy cells"--??
In California, stem cell research to rebuild a damaged heart is going on right now.
Paralyzed with a spinal cord injury?
Losing your sight?
The California stem cell program* is using embryonic stem cell research to work on all these problems and many more. (*Note: neither the California stem cell program nor any individual mentioned in this article has any connection to the author's political opinions.)
What does this have to do with Missouri Senator Roy Blunt?
For ideological reasons, Senator Blunt (R-MO) would criminalize the research. Again and again he has voted against stem cell research, seeking to deny it funding, or to ban it altogether.
But you thought Missouri already voted to officially permit stem cell research? Wasn't there a state-wide initiative, Amendment 2, which is now part of the Missouri Constitution?
You are correct.
Missouri already had the great stem cell debate.
The "Show Me" state allows only stem cell research specifically permitted by the Federal government, and nothing more. Strict limits are imposed on the kind of embryonic stem cells used for research.
You might remember Michael J. Fox doing a commercial in favor of both Amendment 2 and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, herself a strong supporter of the research.
McCaskill, who ran in favor of the research, prevailed. Her rival Jim Talent, who generally opposed the research, was defeated.
Jason Kander understands the importance of stem cell research. He is a man of the future--
someone Missourians will always be proud of. Take a look at this great ad for him.
But even if Blunt is anti-stem cell, what about old-fashioned morality?
Judging by his cheerleading for Donald Trump, Roy Blunt seems willing to ignore standards of decency most Missourians respect, and live by.
This matters to all Americans, regardless of which state they call home.
The memories of my wife's attack returned when we heard Jessica Leeds speaking about being molested by Trump on the airplane--and all she did was relocate to a different seat--because she felt there was nothing that could be done...
Trump denies her accusations. But he sounds all too believable when he describes to Billy Bush what can only be characterized as sexual predation.
Should we reward him with the greatest honor and responsibility our country has--the Presidency?
And what about politicians like Blunt who so eagerly support him?
Three thousand women recently signed a joint letter fighting back against sexual assault--not from Donald Trump personally, but from those who acted in the way he bragged. Let their voices remind us of the nameless millions of women who were outraged before, and whose attackers, like my wife's, went free.
"3,000 survivors of sexual assault tell Republicans to stop enabling Trump."
Here is their letter, reprinted in its entirety.
"Republican leaders, candidates, and elected officials: Stop Enabling Trump.
"We write as survivors of sexual assault to express our disgust at the Republican nominee for President's vile treatment of women, and to express profound disappointment in your continued support of his candidacy.
"Donald Trump's record on women has always been shameful, but the tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it is a new low.
"These words affect us all, but as survivors of sexual assault they have a particularly horrifying impact on us.
"In this country, one in five women will be sexually assaulted, and the vast majority of perpetrators--as Donald Trump's boasts show him to be--will get away with it. When survivors of sexual assault come forward, they are too often blamed, shamed, and disbelieved. Donald Trump's bragging teaches young men that they can get away with it--and your silence means you stood by and watched.
"We call on ALL Republican leaders, candidates, and elected officials to take a stand against sexual assault and abuse--and take a stand against your own nominee for President.
"You must not only denounce Trump's words, but clearly and unequivocally denounce his candidacy and do all in your power to make sure that this sexual predator never sets foot in the White House. And we urge you to support strong policies that will end the epidemic of sexual assault in this country and support survivors of abuse."
SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE
Ultraviolet ACTION, MoveOn.Org
Paid for by Ultraviolet Action.www.weareultraviolet.org: Not Authorized by Any Candidate or Candidate's Committee.
Don C. Reed is the author of "STEM CELL BATTLES: Proposition 71 and Beyond: How Ordinary People Can Fight Back Against the Crushing Burden of Chronic Disease".