In a peculiar burst of political genius -- who would have thought of turning disease into a political voting bloc? -- Al Gore in his Democratic convention speech specifically mentioned diabetes along with other big demographic disease blocs: "So we will double the federal investment in medical research. We will find new medicines and new cures -- not just for cancer, but for everything from diabetes to HIV/AIDS." Of course, with the attention to breast cancer and AIDS, it was perhaps only a matter of time before other diseases were recognized as political opportunities.
Despite this hopeful-sounding political rhetoric, designed to appeal to people like me, Al Gore's health proposals scare me. Not just as an American, but more specifically as a diabetic.
You see, like many people, I'm counting on science to come through for me -- or if not for me, then for my children and grandchildren, who are at higher risk of developing diabetes. New and better drugs for controlling diabetes are popping off the shelf each year. And within my lifetime, I'm hoping, praying and betting on a cure. Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet, likes to position himself as the friend of science and progress, as the advocate for this new "time in which human curiosity is ushering in new marvels of science and technology," as Gore put it in a June speech. But Al Gore the politician also wants to run and rail against big drug companies for making too much money, as the evil guys responsible for those "skyrocketing costs." He accuses "the other side" of "(giving) in to the big drug companies," for example.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.