Thursday, May 19, 2016
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Francis Collins and Causes to Believe In
Quick now! Put politics and biases aside.
Ask yourself. What do Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Francis Collins share in common.
One, they share causes they believe in.
Two, they believe the status quo is unacceptable.
Indeed, each in their own way vowed to change the status quo because they believe there is a better way.
Donald Trump believes making America great and rich again is the answer to our woes. He believes winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing. He believes he can negotiate any deal to make greatness, wealth, and general prosperity happen again. He believes public is fed up with the status quo - a stagnant economy, loss of prestige abroad, and bowing before our enemies – will never cut it. He sincerely believes in himself and radiates confidence in his beliefs.
Bernie Sanders believes in a social revolution expressing America’s altruism – unselfishness for others and devotion to the welfare of others. He believes that by redistributing wealth, taxing the rich for their fair share, providing Medicare for all, giving free college tuitions, rebuilding our infrastructure, social goodness and equity can be achieved. He believes the status quo – the income gap between the rich and poor – is evil and can be corrected by a benevolent government. His passion for his beliefs is authentic and shines through in his personality and his speaking engagements.
Francis Collins, MD, PhD, heads up the National Institutes of Health. He believes the status quo, namely 600,000 Americans dying each year of cancer, 1600 people each day, is intolerable. He believes a concentrated effort by scientists can unlock the mysteries that cause cancer. He believes winning the war on cancer is doable. After all, cancer mortality rates have decreased by 23% over the last 25 years. Through intensified cancer research, Collins believes we can defeat cancer in all of its forms by increasing the resources devoted to fighting cancer and breaking down silos to unite the cancer-fighting community.How can we do this? Through focus on cancer vaccines for high risk individuals, early cancer detection of DNA and RNA byproducts in blood and other fluids, studying genomic mutations in tumor cells, by developing tumor-killing immune cells, screening for the factors that produce pediatric cancers, and sharing data to handle and analyze genomic and clinical data from patients (Douglas Lowy, MD, and Francis Collins, MD, PhD, “Aiming High – Changing the Trajectory for Cancer, “ New England Journal of Medicine, May 19, 2016).
Francis and his NIH colleagues “expect these efforts to build a firm foundation for the development of better means of prevention, treatment, and cure of all types of cancer.”
Tyranny of Status Quo
Trump, Sanders, and Collins do not believe in the tyranny of the status quo, that establishment pressures to maintain positions of power to resist change, are acceptable. They espouse different means to achieve their ends, and all are sincere in their beliefs that their ends justify the means of improving the lot of humankind.
In the middle of the spectrum of change is Hillary Clinton. She believes the status quo can be fixed with a tweak here, a tweak there. She believes caution is the better part of valor, and time will prove that President Obama’s domestic and foreign policies will stand the test of time, and that cautious progressivism is the best path forward.