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   The inevitable flood of McCain bashing jokes and double entendres is going to be lots of fun for all of us. However, I suggest that we all (well, the majority of us) agree, here and now, to not joke about Alzheimer's disease. Because, for any of us who have lost a loved one to this insidious disease, it just ain't funny.

  In 1994, I lost my mother to Alzheimers disease once and for all. Her passing was actually the culmination of a very exhausting, traumatic and heart-rending 5 year journey for everyone who loved her, including a whole tribe of family and friends.

  By the time she died, Mom had been a resident of a nursing home for two years. She no longer recognized any of us, with only occasional exception. She no longer had control of her emotions or bodily functions. In reality, she was my mother in name only - the person I knew for 40 years was no longer home. In all honesty, her death was a blessing for her and for us.

  Her sister, my favorite aunt in the whole world, died from the same disease, in the same room of the nursing home, only a few years later.

  I cannot stand John McCain and believe him to be one of the most two-faced, hypocritical assholes in the American political scene. I have no doubt that he is, in reality, too old to be President.

  However, I cannot understand why it is acceptable to use, as a political joke or weapon, a disease that is affecting so many thousands of people like my mother and her sister, and families like mine. None of us would use cancer, or mental retardation, or Aids, or tuberculosis or any other disastrous disease as a political weapon, so why use Alzheimers? Wanna use the fact that you have to bankrupt your loved one in order to get help? Wanna use the fact that McCain has his head up his ass when it comes to the war? Right On! But, let's maintain a civil, considerate discourse when it comes to a really shitty, godawful and painful disease that affects millions of us.

If you want to know more about this horrible disease, here's a link:

Originally posted to ATLSandlapper on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:24 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  not all senility is a result of Alzeimers (7+ / 0-)

    Maybe his mind is just turning to mush. It's a totally separate medical condition.

    A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

    by Marcion on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:28:18 AM PDT

    •  McCain's problem may not be Alzeimers... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      No one knows what the long-term impact (in this case, more than 35 years after it ended) McCain's extended stay as a POW in North Vietnam may have had on his mind or his body.  However, we do know he is already a decade older than his namesake grandfather was when the first John S. McCain died less than a week after he was among the admirals and generals who witnessed the Japanese surrender that closed World War II.  You and the rest of the American electorate can draw your own conclusions, but one disregards these factors at their own risk.

  •  I wish we could take a look at how (7+ / 0-)

    we treat Alzheimers and make it less horrible for the people stricken by it and their families.  I am a trust and estates lawyer and have to go to a nursing home one in a while, they leave me deeply depressed.  Personally I would vastly prefer that I be given a lethal dose of morphine if I am ever in that condition.

    On a practical note, people with elderly parents should make sure the parents have a designation of health care surrogate so you can make decisions for them if they are ever in that state.

    •  Screw the morphine... (0+ / 0-)

      We need vast amounts of funds and research to stop people from ever needing a "facility."  

      However much we spend will be far less than we spend to deal with the costs of not spending the funds.

      These diseases are conquerable; we must not plan on "morphine."

  •  My grandmother (6+ / 0-)

    has just been diagnosed with moderate alzheimer's.  It is a very difficult disease.  I would never make fun of anyone with it, or use it as a political weapon.  Thank you for writing this diary. And I agree, McCain is too old to be president, and that has nothing to do with alzheimers.

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -Plato

    by Snickers77 on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:29:35 AM PDT

  •  That disease is so brutal (8+ / 0-)

    I can't think of anything worse than going through that, either as the victim or the family.  I lost my dad to cancer and that's a cakewalk in comparison because he was still essentially himself right to the end.  

    Incidentally, he was a lifelong republican, but he disliked McCain in 1998 well before McCain turned into Bush Lite.  

    My mom, a lifelong republican who still refuses to vote democrat, will not support McCain.  I suspect she's going to write in Alan Keyes as a joke.

    McCain's own mouth will be his worst enemy in the coming months.  Let him have at it!

  •  fear not, when we say mccain is losing it.... (4+ / 0-)

    it's not about age or alzheimers. Hannity has lost it. Coulter loses it regularly. And they're a pups. Mean, bitter pups.

    They want you to believe the system is broken. That's how they get away with things.

    by ron ray on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:30:08 AM PDT

  •  I'm so sorry that you lost your mother (5+ / 0-)

    to this terrible disease.  Heartbreaking process from what I hear of people who have been through it.

    It would be my wish that no one would use this disease to make jokes about McCain, however unlikely my wish may be.  On the other hand, his age is a real concern for me and others for many reasons.

    "Do not freak. All things pass." - escapee

    by Pandoras Box on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:32:05 AM PDT

  •  I think you are absolutely right... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, ATLSandlapper

    In addition, mark my words, ANY reference to senility or Alzheimers will be used against Obama and this community.  Not only should we NOT be going there...those that chose to do so will opening a political pandoras box.  Tempting...tempting...But this will create huge backlashes.

    Or maybe not.

    "We're all working for the Pharaoh" - Richard Thompson

    by mayan on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:32:32 AM PDT

  •  My mother too. (3+ / 0-)

    My mother has Alzheimer's as well. It is devastating, like living with a ghost.  An angry one.
    Peace to you.

  •  Im with you (3+ / 0-)

    and throw in all the Depends jokes as well.

    We have SO MUCH valid powerful irrefutable issues to take up with John McCain.  Why dumb it down to tasteless cheap shots?

    Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

    by Wisper on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:41:39 AM PDT

  •  My sympathies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, mango

    Yes, the disease is too terrible to be used in a humorous vein.

  •  Agree 100% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    My brother is in Stage 7 and everytime I see an Alzheimer's "joke" about McCain, I want to throttle the person.  

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:44:36 AM PDT

  •  Agree wholeheartedly (0+ / 0-)

    There is no excuse for smearing McCain based on perceived vulnerability to mental decline, especially when he has so many issue positions that are at odds with what we believe.

    To those who have suffered the horror of Alzheimer's in their personal lives, it is not something that should be discussed in the context of a political campaign.

  •  Thanks for the reminder. (0+ / 0-)

    It's too easy to slip from "He's old" to "He's got Alzheimers/is senile."  I've never had a loved one with this problem, but it'd be heartbreaking if my grandmothers lost their loving personalities to it.

    Besides, there are plenty more ways we can trash him, and most of it comes from his own mouth.  The "He's old" thing is really just a cheap shot.

    Easy is right. ~Chuang Tzu

    by Anjana on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:47:51 AM PDT

  •  Alz not a joke. But seriously- if McCain displays (0+ / 0-)

    fogginess at this age, it's possible that that's where he's headed.    It started for Reagan in his second term.    It's unlikely that if McCain is edging into Alzheimer's that he'd be in a bad way in 4 years- more likely 8 years.  But who knows.

    •  Yes, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lcork, MikeMinCT

      it is also possible that he suffer from a recurrence of his melanoma, or that he suffer a stroke or any one of a hundred other diseases of those over 60. Some are more likely than others.

      There are simply a great deal more substantive and tangible issues to wage a political battle over - especially after the debacle of "W". Who needs this?

      There is nothing false about HOPE!

      by ATLSandlapper on Fri May 09, 2008 at 11:00:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  meaning of the word "bearing" in navigation... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm so sorry for the losses in your family due to Alzheimer's disease. It's a terrible disease for the person afflicted, and for the family watching the loss of their loved one often long before their death.

    But please do not mistake the use of the term "bearings" by Senator Obama as relating to Alzheimer's or any of the dementia diseases. It's my experience that the use of the word "bearing" regarding human behavior is in the metaphorical use of the word as it is used in navigation.

    From Wikipedia:

    In navigation, a bearing is the direction one object is from another object. In navigation, it is usually the direction of an object from one's own vessel.

    Senator McCain's sea changes on a variety of issues in his long career -- especially in the time frame of this campaign season -- have been clearly described. He is departing from his own core beliefs as he takes this journey. His is a classic selling of his soul, his character (if we are to believe he truly ever was a 'maverick' or a 'straight talker') as his campaign takes him further off the course he would have us believe he has been on during his career.

    Barack Obama speaks the English language with more nuance than we are used to hearing these days. We can't jump on the Republican bandwagon every time we are exposed to one of these little firestorms.

  •  keep your brain strong now (0+ / 0-)

    I have an aunt who suffered from Alzheimer's and I swear that for several years before diagnosis, all she did was watch Fox News and listen to Rush. Keeping the brain active is helpful no matter what the age.Listening to mushy thinking can be harmful!

    This isn't an ad, but I tried the free 7 day trial of, which has brain exercises for different skills and it seems like a good help. Of course, my 9 year old son gets on my account and has the attention games so high I can't keep up anymore! Still, there are many sites with good exercises, until we find a cure for this heartbreaking illness.

    I had one grandmother who lived to 90, and a few days before she died, in 83, she was reading the newspaper and asked me, 'I keep reading about these computers. How do they work?" She was mentally sharp every minute up to the end, and I hope with good genes and habits I can do the same.

    The pump don't work 'cause a vandal took the handle.

    by Chun Yang on Fri May 09, 2008 at 11:14:10 AM PDT

  •  A serious ailment can = serious campaign concern (0+ / 0-)

    Alzheimer's is tragic. My father was in early stages (prior to passing away from leukemia, unrelated.) His strange confusion made my family aware that we had to be extra protective of him, and not take him for granted in any way. Anyone with this debilitating condition is entitled to our stewardship, but they're not entitled or qualified to be leading or organizing anything. If John McCain is exhibiting contradictions in policy, and using momentary confusion as an excuse for flip flopping, then it seems fair game to suggest degeneration of mental faculties as an alternative to calling him an outright pandering liar. I think it's notable that he's constantly shadowed by either his wife or Lieberman. They seem to be only a few feet away from him at all times. Anyone suffering debilitating mental faculties is at the mercy of their helpers (and are also vulnerable to manipulation or abuse). Having said all this, I think "losing his bearings" is a vague statement subject to a variety of interpretations (morality, honesty, fatique, etc.) and as innocuous as saying "out of touch", which all the candidates have said about each other.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by MotherGinSling on Fri May 09, 2008 at 11:43:07 AM PDT

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