Most of us are familiar with the iconic phrase, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” From the brilliant minds of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, et al, our nation’s founders codified into the Declaration of Independence those ideals thus providing direction for governing the future generations of citizens that would come to populate this country. The notions imbued in those words create a broad template of guidance for our elected leaders as they conduct the nation’s business and prioritize its resources.
Delving further into understanding the significance of that phrase, realization comes that without the actuality of “life”, that “liberty and happiness” are impossible. It then becomes self-evident and necessary that our government focus upon the “life” portion of the equation so the citizenry can then effect progress against the other two. To that end, and for the protection of the populace and the “American way of life” across the ensuing decades, our leaders, at great cost and with the support of a complicit population, have developed and maintained a massive defensive military capability.
As demanded by the oath of office to which our President is sworn and in keeping with the rights identified in the above famous phrase, he is bound by the promise to “defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic” and by extension, the people of this country. But, who and/or what are those enemies? Most assuredly “rogue nations” and other dictatorial despots engaging in threatening and hostile actions toward our country and interests are rightly seen as enemies, and a competent military to counter those threats is warranted. But, in addition to those foreign bad actors, there exists a domestic enemy which attacks and kills exponentially more of our citizenry than any hostile nation/dictator ever has, and that enemy is disease; more specifically, cancer. For a better understanding of the threat, here are the sobering statistics from The National Cancer Institute: In 2016, approximately 596,000 US citizens died from cancer. Nearly 40% of all US citizens will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.
In contrast to those numbers, over the past 243 years, approximately 1.4 million US citizens in total, including both military and civilian, have died in all US wars/conflicts.
In other words, in this country, every 3 years more of this country’s citizens die from cancer than all combined deaths from war in US history.
Our current President recently released his budget requests for FY 2018, and, even though the cancer research budget had grown by 10 percent during the previous five years, in it, he seeks an 18 percent reduction ($850 MILLION) while at the same time asks for an additional nine percent increase ($54 BILLION) in military spending.
Given the above statistics, is the President adequately supporting his solemn oath to uphold the guarantees of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, or, because of ignorance, or more egregiously, uncaring indifference, is he shirking his solemn promise to defend the populace from “all enemies, foreign and domestic”?