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Sotomayer has proven by her record that diabetes is not a factor in her performance

Posted May 28 2009 10:15pm

Diabetes should not be the reason that Sonia Sotomayor does not get approved for the Supreme Court. Sotomayor acknowledges that diabetes has informed the person she has become. But like all of us, there are a multitude factors that create her life story,  including growing up poor, losing her father at a young age, being a member of a minority as well as getting a scholarship to an elite college, winning it’s top prize and so on.

What makes her  personal narrative extraordinary is that it is a story of hope, reliance and triumph.

So why the  big fuss out of the fact  that Sonia Sontomayer has Type 1 Diabetes when she’s lived with it  since she has been 9 years old? We should all be so “disabled” by illness and still accomplish so much!

I think it’s because the American public is deeply fearful of chronic illness. We can’t imagine that anyone who lives with disease can be “normal” .  A Huffington Post article refers to the stigma of Diabetes. There does seem to be an “attitude” about this disease.  Funny since it’s less likely to affect a person’s ability to be productive than other chronic illnesses such as lupus, MS, coronary heart disease,etc.

That same article describes how some pundits worry that because people with diabetestypically have a shorter life span (10 years) and Supreme Court Justices are expected to sit for decades, this could be a problem.  Huh?  As a Newsweek blogger points out, she or any other member of the court could be hit by a bus tomorrow!  And let’s not forget that at age 54, she’s younger than most nominees by at least a decade.

Furthermore, as Amy Tenderich at Diabetes Mine says, the worry doesn’t stem from unfamiliarity with chronic  illness ion the Supreme Court.  Sandra Day O’Connor’s husband had Alzheimer’s.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg has cancer.  There’s “suspicion” that Chief Justice Roberts has epilepsy. ( Talk about a disease with stigma- not surprising that he wouldn’t discuss it unless he’s “outed”).

Amy closes her post asking if President Obama should be taking Sotomayor’s diabetes into consideration.  To that question, I say a resounding NO.

It’s not I think this should be a private matter.  The issue is simply not part of the equation.

Unless, of course, Sotomayor asks for special accommodations, such needing a bathroom break while hearing cases to self inject or delaying the work day until 10:00am.  Or periodically needing time off from work for a disability leave.

Since I’m not aware of these requests,  I can only conclude two things:

First, the American public continues to live in the “dark ages” regarding their attitude to chronic illness and working.

Second, the only good news about this “much ado about nothing” is that it highlights that this negative perception  persists.  And this offers the opportunity to build a platform on which to demonstrate that this bias is, in fact, a house of cards.

But let’s hear from you.  Do you see Sotomoyer’s nomination as an opportunity? If you’re interested, start a discussion about this on my facebook “fan” page: <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:”Book Antiqua”; panose-1:2 4 6 2 5 3 5 3 3 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:647 0 0 0 159 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:”"; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Book Antiqua”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>

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