Will diabetes enter the debate for the new Supreme Court Nominee?
Yesterday President Obama made history by nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Besides being the first Hispanic on the court Judge Sotomayor is also a Type 1 diabetic. According to an article entitled “Her diabetes; Will it be a handicap?” posted on Time.com “The nominee’s chronic condition is worth noting, since it puts her at increased risk of several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, kidney problems, blindness and nerve damage — and an increased risk of early death.”
According to the Huffington Post; “[W]hile hardly a debilitating disease — indeed, recent medical advancements have made it quite manageable to live with — there remain enough late-in-life health implications to have sparked debate in legal, political and medical circles. Just how relevant are medical issues to Sotomayor’s or any other potential Supreme Court nomination?”
The mere fact that these articles are even written speaks to something that Diabetic Investor has been saying a lot recently; when it comes to diabetes the mainstream media just doesn’t get it. First and foremost diabetes is NOT a handicap as the Time article implies. Although diabetes is a chronic condition with no cure coming in the near future, when properly managed patients with diabetes can live full and very productive lives.
Jay Cutler, a Pro Bowl Quarterback now with the Chicago Bears, Larry King, Halle Barry, Olympic Gold Medalist Gary Hall, Jr., Arkansas Governor and Former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and former Miss America Nicole Johnson are all persons with diabetes who live very productive lives.
While there is no argument that the majority of patients with diabetes are not adequately controlling their diabetes, Judge Sotomayor will have something that most patients don’t have; access to the best medical care available.
Given that Judge Sotomayor was named to the federal bench in the Southern District of New York in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush, then to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1998, it would be a major stretch to say that the fact she has diabetes has adversely impacted her ability to perform her daily duties.
Still in the world we live in where every word spoken or written by a possible Supreme Court justice is parsed, analyzed and reanalyzed no subject is off limits to members of Congress who must approve Justice Sotomayor’s appointment. Considering that most legal experts have labeled Justice Sotomayor as a liberal, surly a conservative will try to use her diabetes as negative and a reason not to confirm her appointment.
Hopefully as Justice Sotomayor goes through the confirmation process members of Congress and the mainstream media will take the time to learn more about diabetes and actually become educated about diabetes before condemning Justice Sotomayor. It would be a major injustice to the millions of patients with diabetes to somehow frame the fact that Justice Sotomayor has diabetes as a handicap. This would only further reinforce the stigma many patients already feel.
The fact is patients with diabetes should be rejoicing with Justice Sotomayor’s nomination as it serves as reminder that diabetes is not a handicap. Hopefully this event will serve as a catalyst that helps those who do not have diabetes gain a better appreciation for what millions of patients go through each day of their lives. Perhaps it will spark greater debate on what needs to be done to help the millions of patients with diabetes better manage their diabetes.
As Diabetic Investor has been saying for way to long DIABETES IS THE ENEMY and we need more not less weapons to help patients. Characterizing diabetes as handicap would only further reinforce the many negative stereotypes the uniformed have about diabetes. Let’s hope that Judge Sotomayor’s nomination is the turning point diabetes needs and that people begin to view diabetes for what it is; a chronic condition that can be controlled when patients are given the right set of tools. A message that hopefully will resonate all the way to the FDA as they consider several new diabetes drugs awaiting approval.
Finally let’s hope that as more and more people learn about diabetes that this knowledge is put to good use. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said; “Depend on it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
The fact here is that diabetes is NOT a handicap and Time should be ashamed for letting their zest for headlines get in the way of the true facts. This is just further evidence that the mainstream media is clueless when it comes to diabetes and in their quest to grab attention is doing even more damage to the millions of patients with diabetes.