Important issues lost in the 2016 campaigns

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by myrtlebee, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. myrtlebee macrumors 68000

    myrtlebee

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    #1
    As we head into 2016, I am feeling that the US presidential campaigns (and our current President and Congress as well) are failing to address some of the most important, most immediate concerns facing people every day. I'd like to hear if you all feel the same and what issues you'd hope start to play a bigger role in national politics.

    Here are some issues I'd like to see raised and solutions proposed in great detail:

    1) Homelessness, poverty, food deserts - I realize that every country grapples with this issue, but here perhaps more than anywhere it is a disgrace to have these things occurring minutes away from luxury in some of our greatest cities. Maybe because I'm from Baltimore and see the disparity on a daily basis that it seems like such a glaring issue to not be a hot topic.

    2) Curing cancer - At least Huckabee has mentioned this one, and it is a shame Joe Biden isn't running since he said that he would have liked to have been the president to help cure cancer. How many of us have been affected by this disease? Almost every loved one I've lost was to cancer. We can't accept this as something unsolvable. We put a man on the moon, let's do this too.

    3) K-12 education - Again, maybe it's because I'm a teacher and see this every day, but why are we only talking about higher education and getting rid of Common Core? There needs to be sweeping innovation to eliminate the disparity between the quality of schools and education received among students of different communities. We need to acknowledge the fact that our economy has changed and the education we provide to students needs to be suitably tailored for that. Seriously, what are we going to do? We are heading deeper into a new century with such an outdated and insufficient educational system that it's scary.

    4) Mental illness - Again, something very personal, and yet obviously very widespread. There is a huge stigma against getting help and having a diagnosis of a mental illness, especially for men. Our mental health system is not great. Crisis centers are few and far between, and access to ongoing mental health care is out of the question for many because of location or financial problems. We have mass shootings practically monthly and we focus on guns but seem to forget about mental health.

    I understand, most of us are so busy we feel like there is little we can do. But I can't be the only one who has some quiet Saturday nights to sit and reflect. You have to ask - what the hell is going on? We're asleep at the wheel and not meeting the great challenges of our time. Have we just resigned ourselves that some problems are unsolvable and therefore given up all great collective effort to at least innovate and make a dent in these issues that are costing us so much in blood and treasure?
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I would quibble with cancer being on this list and would substitute infrastructure maintenance and repair as a higher government priority. I'm not trying to ignore the problem of cancer, and I believe the government has a role promoting research, but our infrastructure has been neglected for too long and seems to me to be more directly connected with the mission of government.
     
  3. myrtlebee thread starter macrumors 68000

    myrtlebee

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    #3
    These are just my priorities. Nothing needs to be taken from the list, simply added in my opinion. I could never in good conscience say I would substitute roads for cancer. I think there has been much more focus on infrastructure (although it is crumbling) than cancer. The only reason you view infrastructure as more directly connected to the role of government is because it has been tied to it for so long. Which is part of my plea - to have government take a much larger and active role in cancer research, developing better incentives to find cures rather than treatments, support for families burdened with the disease and its web of devastating effects, and so much more. It has huge economic and social effects.
     
  4. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #4
    Kennedy challenged us to get to the moon and funded it, it would be nice for another president to challenge us to eradicate cancer and fund it. The problem I think with one, three, and four is they really are state and city issues and would probably be best served by them though education could probably pulled to the federal level.
     
  5. myrtlebee thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    See, that's the thing. Keeping these issues as "local" and private sector issues has done nothing to solve them. That's part of my plea- these need to become central federal government issues and the focus of national politics.
     
  6. VulchR macrumors 68020

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    #6
    My mother died from cancer, but frankly cancer (or more accurately, the cancers) is not as large a problem as mental health disorders and disorders of the nervous system. The WHO publishes a report on lost productive years of various diseases. The top illness that caused loss productive human life was depression, followed by chronic pain. We've already had the war on cancer (1971 in the US during the Nixon administration) and it has had limited success, mostly because it has focused on molecular processes (making a lot of scientists and companies rich) rather than preventative measures like lifestyle changes.

    The problem is that the public sees tests tubes and think 'ooo science'. Then they see behavioural scientists working on depression or changing behaviours related to health and think 'fuzzy psychologists'. Yet if we really want to change the well being of people, depression and lifestyle should be the two main focuses. Trying to stop a cancer after it has started might never be successful, for there is nothing in biology or medicine that guarantees a cure.
     
  7. myrtlebee thread starter macrumors 68000

    myrtlebee

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    #7
    Looks like the president agreed with me verbatim on cancer! It can be done.
     
  8. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #8

    Targeted cancer therapy has made major advancements during the last several years. I truly believe death from Cancer will probably decrease 75% in the near future.
     
  9. thermodynamic, Jan 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016

    thermodynamic Suspended

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    #9
    Another problem: We're (still) constantly told we need people in various fields - yet college is increasingly unobtainable due to sheer cost (over 1000% more expensive since 1980) and since the great recession student loan debt has doubled since people went back to college to get degrees to remain employable.

    Solutions:

    Debt forgiveness, especially those who went back during or after the great recession (2007). Companies have demanded people having higher degrees and try getting a job with no degree, at which point one gets called "lazy". There is no viable alternative to college, so an effective monopoly exists in the market to exploit. Doesn't matter who backs the loan, the ambient structural conditions between job trainer and job creator are still immutable. For-profit colleges rack it up and even public colleges have had to increase rates, especially with reduced subsidies and related issues. As a result, all workers have been put in a bad place as a result and anyone saying "choice" should try getting edified, pun not intended...

    Big monetary incentives to go to college for fields in demand as opposed to jacking up costs to fleece students.

    If companies can get subsidies and refunds on the $0.00 in taxes they paid and everything else, so should everyone else?
     
  10. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

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    #10
    I will say that once it got to the point that one couldn't work their way through college financially that's when it became too expensive.
     
  11. myrtlebee thread starter macrumors 68000

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  12. tgara macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    FYI, the war on cancer has been going on for some time. President Nixon made this a national priority back in the early 1970s, and Congress passed the National Cancer Act in 1971. Billions of dollars have been spend on cancer research since then. Things have gotten better, but more work needs to be done.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Cancer
     
  13. lowendlinux Contributor

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    #13
    This effects what I said how?
     
  14. tgara macrumors 6502a

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    #14
  15. lowendlinux Contributor

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    #15
    That's like we need to end *pick and ill*, it's open ended and gives no timeline.
     
  16. mudslag macrumors regular

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    #16

    In all fairness the space race was only funded out of a patriotic sense given the big bad wolf at the time, U.S.S.R., was beating us and all the right cards fell in place to make that happen. Had there been no cold war with Russia and no drive to be the first, it's doubtful that we would have pushed as hard as we did to win the space race. Cancer is an entirely different kind of beast with no real race by any one country, specially any that would be deemed our rival that would encourage us to push for such a endeavor.
     
  17. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

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    #17
    I'd put education first. All levels: Pre-k, college and adult continuing education.

    Without education you can't even begin to understand all the other problems that need fixing.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 13, 2016 ---
    It helped that the space race was understandable. It was a traditional "race" by any definition of the term: There was a starting line (Earth), a finish-line (Moon - clearly visible by all) a simple physical distance between the two, and some competitors in the race that absolutely had to be beat.

    That whole race was supremely easy to understand and rally behind.

    Though its effects are well-understood, cancer's a lot less tangible. How do you win that race? What does "winning" even mean? Giving a sufferer a few more months, a few more years, decades? Definitions of winning will vary, so there's no clear goal to rally behind and progress towards.

    In the end, are we trying to cure death? Realistic?
     
  18. tgara macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Obama and Biden made campaign promises about addressing cancer, and the 2009 stimulus package included money for it as well. No timeline was provided AFAIK.

    I don't see funding as the primary issue. More importantly I think is that understanding how the various cancers work and how treatments or cures can be developed is simply a very difficult problem. Cancers come in many forms, and some are more difficult to diagnose and treat than others. Despite efforts from many laboratories worldwide, lack of progress on treatments for some cancers is limited by our own knowledge about the diseases. Lung cancer, for example, until recently had no good animal models which limited how we could study and treat that type of cancer. As a result, slow progress has been made on that type of cancer. Contrast this with various forms of leukemia (blood cancers) where great improvements have been made since the 1970s.

    Timetables on this type of research are not useful in my view. The research goes as it goes, that's the nature of biological research. Steady progress is the key, and we've seen that over the years. It's a nonpartisan issue that everyone should get behind.
     
  19. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Curing cancer is a noble goal. But I question how much; and how effectively; the US Government can directly fund and/or direct the medical research necessary.

    Lets also be clear: "Cancer" isn't one single disease. Its literally thousands of different diseases; that in many cases affect each individual differently. We never going to find a single pill or procedure that prevents or cures all cancers. Instead we'll have more of what we've had over the past hundred years: A slow progression whereby we can treat a wider array of types of cancer, with progressively more effective methods. Fifty years ago a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence. Thats not necessarily the case now.

    Personally I think its time the United States started addressing the issue that water is going to be a huge problem in the coming decades. We've seen hints of this problem in the California drought. But the vast aquifer that irrigates much of the agricultural heartland of America is rapidly running dry. And I struggle to think of any national candidate who's even raised the issue.
     
  20. myrtlebee thread starter macrumors 68000

    myrtlebee

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    #20
    Lots of cynicism in this thread. Explains a lot about why this hasn't been a top priority before. Very sad.
     
  21. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #21
    I don't read it as cynicism (an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism). My favorite podcast is Jesse vs. Cancer, by a 29 year-old comedian who last June was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ass Cancer of the ass (his description). In his last podcast he described curing cancer in same terms as vrDrew in post #19, a disease of many different causes requiring many different kinds of treatment.

    My 77 year-old father nearly died of lymphoma. My 40 year-old co-worker likewise went through treatment just a couple of years ago. And while both are clear of it, they both know that it's likely that in a few years it will come back again, requiring more treatment which will hopefully work again. Some cancers probably won't be cured (at least in my lifetime) as much as they'll be managed. Success will be measured in longer survival rates, as opposed to out-and-out cures.

    That's not a cynical outlook. It's a realistic one.
     
  22. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

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    Cancer won't be cured because there is no money in cures. The money is in "treatment". If cancer were cured, it would negatively affect the balance sheet of big pharma and the insurance companies.
     
  23. Older bird macrumors regular

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    #23
    2) Curing cancer - At least Huckabee has mentioned this one, and it is a shame Joe Biden isn't running since he said that he would have liked to have been the president to help cure cancer. How many of us have been affected by this disease? Almost every loved one I've lost was to cancer. We can't accept this as something unsolvable. We put a man on the moon, let's do this too.

    As long as Big Pharmaceutical companies make billions off of cancer treatment I'm afraid we will never see a cure, even if they do find it. I wouldn't be surprised if they already have one for many common cancers.

    You may get your wish for Joe to run for president. If Hillary loses Iowa and NH or she gets federally charged for her emails. I predict Biden or Warren to announce. No way will the DNC allow Sanders to run against the likes of Trump or Cruz.
     
  24. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #24
    I wouldn't see it as cynicism.

    Lets start out by saying its quite a reflection on the powers of the United States Government that this is even up for discussion. The US Government put a man on the moon. It learned how to beat malaria and yellow fever. It tamed the rivers of the west. It electrified rural America. It beat the Nazis and Imperial Japan. What can't it do..?

    The problem is, of course, that cancer isn't like those other problems.

    That a million guys with shovels and backhoes. A hundred thousand engineers or economists. Fifty thousand DNA sequencers. None of them are going to find the magic bullet that makes cancer disappear. So that we can all end up dying instead of Alzheimers or diabetes or heart disease.

    The older I get; the more my view of the world is populated by those struck by cancer. A father and stepfather both killed by it before they were sixty. A mother struck twice in thirty years. Dozens more friends, contemporaries; relatives; celebrities I respect. All struck down by cancer. A horrid, horrid disease that haunts my worst nightmares.

    But I cling, as it were, to philosophy: We are not immortal beings. For our own good, as well as that of our planet and our species - we cannot live forever. I think of David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister. Both of them killed by cancer at a relatively young age. But then I also think that both of these men lived rich, productive lives almost up until the last weeks or days. And I think that, terrible, awful and painful as cancer might be - its not also God's final, tragic, ironic gift to us all.

    Be careful what you wish for.
     
  25. Mousse macrumors 68000

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    #25
    I doubt those in power care to fix our education system.:mad: If the citizens realize just how F'ed up the system is, they would demand changes. No, better to keep them in the dark. Control their opinions with propaganda.:rolleyes: I remember as a kid believing the Cold War propaganda about Soviet and East German women being tough with a masculine attitude, build and voice.:eek:
     

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