Sunday, October 29, 2006

A comment on the Michael J. Fox advertisement

I very much agree with Digby . Limbaugh's utterly disgusting personal attack on Michael J. Fox is an entirely self-serving political attack on someone who dares to disagree with the conventional wisdom of the (very sick) Republican Party and who has presented a highly effective advertisement in support of stem-cell research. Limbaugh and his minions from Hell cannot support their idiotic position on stem-cell research, so instead of presenting argument on the merits or demerits of the policy, they make personal attacks on Michael J. Fox because he actually had the temerity to inflict a tiny bit of the truth of what his Parkinson's Disease has done to him - and does to him every day.

Remember, the twitching, bobbing and weaving that Michael J. Fox demonstrated in his advertisement is mostly side-effects of the medication he takes to control his Parkinson's. Without that medication, his face freezes up and he is totally unable to speak at all. He takes the medication because the side effects, bad as they seem to us, are the best he can hope for. The "uncontrolled" Parkinson's disease is even worse.

Digby also makes the point that Michael J. Fox does not have to work to support stem-cell research as he does. He could simply go home and stay out of the sight of healthy people and not inflict the appearance of his infliction on those with weak stomachs like Limbaugh. But he doesn't do that. He is using his celebrity status and the personal appearance of his tragedy to fight for stem-cell research in the hope that others with the same affliction might someday be able to live more normal lives.

So he exposes himself to the attacks of the hateful Republican conservative "Know-nothings" like Limbaugh in order to give some hope to others with Parkinson's.

I am proud to watch him perform his acts of courage - the acts of going public and fighting for what he believes.

I have spent a lot of my life in the military, and there have been some real actus of heroism that I remember daily. One was the story in "Blackhawk Down" of the two young Ranger Sergeants in a helicopter hovering over the downed Chopper in Mogadishu as the humdreds of militia types were attacking the few Americans on the ground. The two sergeants directed the Chopper pilot to put then down in the middle of the fight because they were needed there. Neither survived, and they probably had little doubt that would be what would happen, but they went anyway.

A second event, less well known, is when a lot of troops at Fort Benning [The Infantry School] were out running one morning. Some idiot with a rifle got up in a patch of woods and started shooting the unarmed soldiers in the sweat clothes. He was up there with a rifle, no one else was armed, so everyone started running for cover. All except one senior Captain. The Captain ran towards to sniper. The story made the civilian news because the Captain was one of those killed before the sniper was taken down, but I have always hoped that I could be capable of such an act of courage.

It is a tradition that long-time soldiers hear gunfire and run towards the guns, not away. This is the kind of courage Michael J. Fox is displaying. His set of circumstances is rather unique. He has his celebrity status and is well-known, his Parkinson's Disease makes him a personal example, and his act of courage allows the rest of us a glimpse of what kind of life people with Parkinson's live.

We should all recognize the great courage he is showing us. As much as seeing what the Parkinson's disease has done to Michael J. Fox, his great act of courage for letting us see him and showing the human cost of blocking stem-cell research is an honor to watch. I like him as an actor, but this battle he has entered has earned from me as much respect as any of the examples above of soldiers in battle who ran towards the sound of the guns.

Digby provided a description of the story inthis comment.

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