Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Politics: a four-letter word.

If there is one thing I hate in this world it is politics. But, today being Election Day, I thought it fitting to share my Diabetes-meets-political frustrations with all of you. So, please don't hate me.

Honestly, I hate drawing lines in the sand (read: branding yourself a "Republican" or a "Democrat"). It just doesn't make any sense, I have seen some terrible leadership on both sides; but I have also seen some (in my opinion) smart decisions initiated by both sides. I like to research my candidates and compare them against both my political and moral views. Heck, sometimes people have ideas that I don't agree with at first, but they make sense in the long run; and usually, I eventually see that they are a lot smarter than me, or had more information from which to make a more educated decision.

So, what am I getting at here? Basically, it's a political battle between finding a cure for Diabetes and not. In general, I would say I lean more towards traditional "Republican" views, but it's those Democrats who support stem cell research: and I do too. I'm a mishmash of views when it comes to the Diabetes political scene, and I'm proud of it. I have done a lot of research, about what exactly a stem cell is, where it comes from, what it could become [enter view against abortion]. Personally, if you are against stem cell research then you should also be against in vitro fertilization, since any unused eggs are simply "thrown away"; however in my experience most people against stem cell research are also FOR in vitro [THEY WANT BABIES ANY WAY THEY CAN GET 'EM]. But I digress....

If you are unsure your views about stem cell research, keep reading for an example which illustrates MY views. [It's sorta long, but totally worth it!]

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Let's pretend you and your husband (or wife) were just blessed with a beautiful new baby. You worked extra hard during the pregnancy to ensure minimal risk of complications; you decorated a nursery and prepared newborn clothes and soft, fuzzy blankets. When your child was born, you bent over backwards, sacrificing all of your time to meet her needs. You breastfed for 6 months to make sure she was getting all the delicious nutrients she needed, and you loved that time with her: bonding and cuddling. You loved staring at her precious smile, her peaceful nap time glow. You would do ANYTHING for her. You never wanted to leave her alone because you didn't want to miss a second of her life, the life you had helped create, the life you were prepared to nurture for the rest of yours. She was perfect.

She started growing fast, and years passed as days, everything was moving so quickly. She outgrew clothes, learned to walk and started talking. You were floored. Every time you looked at her, you were so proud to be her parents, to have her as a blessing in your life.

Days slipped by and it was her first day of kindergarten. You told her to stand tall and proud in the front yard as you took her picture. Her curly hair and toothy grin were beautiful; you framed the picture and took it to work to show off. Yup, she was yours, silly stance and all. Years slipped by...1st grade, 2nd grade...boy, did she make you proud. She won awards, wrote elementary stories, played the piano. You couldn't imagine life without her.

Then one day everything changed. Her once eager grin was tired, thirsty and depressed. Her little bright eyes were dim, but you could tell she was trying to push through. She didn't want to feel this way, she wanted to feel excited, happy, energized! It was Christmastime. You finally gave in, and took her to the doctor. You hated seeing her this way. Your precious little girl was suffering. And then it hit you like a ton of bricks, "She has Type 1 Diabetes."

You can't think. You are frozen. You didn't do anything wrong, how could this happen? You did everything right, you nurtured, took care of, encouraged her. She was your pride and joy. She was perfect. You floated through the diagnosis numb. It pained you more than her to give her shots, to test her blood sugar 3 times a day, to tell her that it will never go away. And even though your actions could not have prevented it, you felt a deep sense of guilt. What did we do wrong?

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You see, when I think about myself I don't feel that I "deserve a cure". But when I think of her, an innocent girl, a parents' perfect child, all I can think is "we NEED a cure." And if stem cell research leads us to a cure, then that is what I will support. I cannot sit here and pretend it's ok for a child to endure the physical and emotional pain that IS Diabetes. I can't pretend it's ok for a parent to tell their child, "No honey, Diabetes doesn't go away."

We need a cure, don't support it for me, support it for HER.