• Making politics out of chronic illness

    I’ve been hesitant to wade into the whole discussion of Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s migraines. I don’t think I can stay out of it any longer, however.

    I think people need to lay off. Seriously. I know it’s politics, and I know to many it’s a game, but this is out of bounds.

    Lots of people have chronic illnesses. In 2005, 133 million Americans had at least one. I have a chronic illness.

    Most days, I’m perfectly healthy. Heck, I don’t think I’ve had any kind of flare for years. But I can’t promise you that I won’t have one tomorrow. I’m sure Rep. Bachmann has a similar story. She likely takes her meds, takes care of her health, and goes about her life. Like I do. Like, I imagine, millions of Americans do.

    I can already hear the arguments against this. What if she can’t perform her duties? What if she gets a migraine at a critical moment? How can we let her be President? I can hear these arguments because many of them were leveled at me by the physicians who were responsible for my training.

    Did I miss a day or two of residency because of my chronic illness? Yes. But so did a lot of other residents who didn’t have chronic illnesses. That’s the main point here. Everyone is susceptible to getting sick. Everyone. Perfectly healthy people can get the flu and be debilitated. Perfectly healthy people can get food poisoning and be out for a day. Perfectly healthy people can develop pneumonia, or get gastroenteritis, or even have a heart attack.

    Perfectly healthy people can get migraines.

    So unless we are going to demand that Presidents never, ever get sick, then we should stop this. Rep. Bachmann has been a Congresswoman for some time, and her district seems to think she can handle the job. She’s been campaigning for President, which is a task far more demanding than what most of us would suffer, I imagine. Using her migraines to say she can’t do the job is petty, cheap, and refuted by evidence and history.

    There are plenty of reasons to decide if a  candidate would make a good President. This shouldn’t be one of them.

    • Great post. There, you’ve gotten me on record defending Bachmann. The impossible has happened! 😉

    • What that guy Richard Hirth said, right on

    • I agree – Kennedy had serious back issues. FDR used a wheelchair when not in public. Neither of these prevented them from being able to function as President, although I am sure that it did limit them from time to time. The great thing about the way our country is set up is that we have a chain of command clearly established. If our president is temporarily disabled, 2nd in command takes over – just as when Reagan was shot.

      I would love to see a campaign on issues that matter, as opposed to personal attacks on items that won’t influence the ability to govern effectively. But that doesn’t make “interesting news”…as long as our government is run by news bites, we won’t make much progress in solving any of our major problems.

      I wonder if we would make better progress on resolving the debt and healthcare issues if we blocked all news media from capital hill and prevented our lawmakers from speaking to the media until an agreement was reached.