Finished this book a few days ago, and it’s a good one.
Scientific research is not supposed to be politicized, but it always is. Michael J Fox (henceforth MJF) got caught in the middle of it on account of his advocacy for Parkinson’s research, starting in the early 2000s. MJF was thrust onto the national political stage when Rush Limbaugh infamously mocked his condition in response to his extremely successful ads in support of pro-stem-cell research candidates like Claire McCaskill.
Sure, MJF endorsed Democrats in 2006, but he’s also endorsed Republicans in the past, such as Senator Arlen Specter in 2004. (Arlen Specter will have his work cut out for him next year, facing a right-wing primary challenger as well as a ready-to-rumble Democratic opponent should he win the primary.)***
While much of the book is about MJF’s political experiences, one of the more powerful parts of the book for me was his candid discussion of his family and his faith and how they are affected by Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s and alcohol took a sledgehammer to any illusions I may have had that I was in control. I came to accept that any disease or condition beyond my control is, in effect, a power greater than myself. To survive this destructive energy, I must look to an even higher power. For my purposes, I need neither define it nor have others define it for me, only accept its existence. It is evident in Tracy’s love and inexhaustible friendship, the toothless gap in Esme’s smile, Aquinnah’s grace, Schuyler’s grit, Sam’s intrepid curiosity. So much to savor, so much to be grateful for. And since I’m not sure of the address to which to send my gratitude, I put it out there in everything I do.
(emphasis mine. NB: Tracy is MJF’s wife, while Esme, Aquinnah, Schuyler, and Sam are his kids.)
Needless to say, I admire both his optimism and his attitude of service.
*** Update: Right as I was about to publish this post, I got the news that Arlen Specter switched parties today. He was still a Republican in 2004, so my point about MJF stands, but Specter’s own future is harder to guess at this point.